At least 31 people were killed in central Mali after militants attacked a bus carrying civilians to a market, local officials announced on Saturday.
The bus was targeted as it made its twice-weekly journey from the village of Songo to a market in Bandiagara, 10km (6.2 miles) away.
Authorities revealed that unidentified gunmen set fire in the bus and killed the driver before setting it. Other eight were injured in the deadly attack.
Attaque terroriste ce matin 3 déc.2021 d'un véhicule de forains à #Songho sur la RN15. Le véhicule a fini par prendre feu sous les coups de balle.
Bilan très lourd:
¤ 33 personnes tuées
¤ 7 blessés
¤ des disparus #Mali pic.twitter.com/fkLAlakLZD
— Ali B. Timbiné (@abtimbine) December 3, 2021
Most of the victims were women who were on their way to work at the market, local sources told the EFE news agency.
Armed men “shot at the vehicle, slashed the tires, and shot at the people”, Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the nearby town of Bankass, told Reuters news agency.
Ce vendredi 3 décembre, des forains de #Songho en partance pour #Bandiagara ont été attaqués. Le véhicule de transport en commun dont-ils occupaient a été calciné, les sources locales parlent d'une trentaine de mort. pic.twitter.com/ZQjzrvnH74
— LaVoixdeMopti (@lavoixdemopti) December 3, 2021
Moreover, Guindo pointed out that more people were either missing or wounded.
The attack, the latest in Mali’s rapidly escalating jihadist insurgency, took place at the heart of the West African nation’s Mopti region.
Notably, this region has seen escalating violence in recent months fueled by fighters linked to Al-Qaeda and the ISIS group.