At least 12 civilians have been killed in Mali by suspected jihadists who lured victims into a bomb attack, two elected officials and a police source told AFP on Saturday.
“The jihadists first killed two civilians in Ouakan (a town near Bankass in central Mali) before rigging their bodies” with explosives, an elected official from a nearby town told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“When the parents and relatives of those killed came to look for the bodies, there was an explosion and at least ten other people were killed,” the person said.
Another elected official in the region confirmed the reports of the Friday attack, saying “several other civilians are currently missing in Ouakan.”
“The bodies of the two civilians were rigged by the jihadists,” the official said. “They exploded when their parents and relatives came to look for the two bodies — there are at least a dozen dead.”
On Saturday, several dozen civilians from Ouakan left their homes to take refuge in surrounding villages, fearing further attacks, several witnesses told AFP.
A regional police official told AFP “arrangements are being made to ensure the safety of the local population” and would be put in place from today.
“The jihadists are increasingly using criminal methods,” he went on. “They rigged bodies in Ouakan, which were later blown up.”
Mali, epicenter of a bloody 10-year-old jihadist campaign across the region, underwent coups in August 2020 and May 2021, creating a political crisis to coincide with the security crisis.