At least eleven people were killed Monday in an attack by unidentified gunmen on an IDP camp in east-central Mali, the United Nations confirmed Thursday, amid deteriorating security due to operations by jihadist groups.
The UN humanitarian coordinator for Mali, Alain Noudéhou, said in a statement that «armed assailants» attacked a camp in Kadji, in the commune of Gounzoureye and seven kilometers southeast of Gao.
«The assailants set fire to IDP homes, food supplies and stole all the livestock,» he said, before adding that humanitarian partners, in collaboration with the Gao Regional Social Development Office, have provided psychosocial support to women and children who witnessed the violence and are assessing their urgent needs for an immediate response.
Noudéhou said, «These IDPs are fleeing insecurity and are doubly affected by the violence of this attack, which exacerbates their vulnerability.» «It is essential to protect civilians throughout the country, including IDPs,» he reiterated.
Sources quoted by Malian radio station Studio Tamani detailed that the assailants stormed the site at around 7 p.m. (local time) on Monday, where they «killed all the men before setting fire» to the premises.
A Gounzoureye leader has pointed to «a regrettable situation» and stressed that measures are being taken to deal with the incident. «The governor has gone to the site to see what happened,» he said, before assuring that «an investigation has been opened to determine responsibilities».
Mali, like other Sahel countries, has been registering in recent years an increasing number of jihadist attacks by both Al Qaeda’s affiliate in the region and the Islamic State, which has also increased inter-communal violence and caused the displacement of tens of thousands of people.