Malian army strikes jihadists after civilian massacre

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Mali's army on Thursday said it had carried out air strikes against al-Qaeda-affiliated Macina Katiba jihadists in the country's centre following the massacre of at least 132 civilians last weekend.

It carried out strikes between Monday and Wednesday around Bankass and Segue, near where the mass killing took place, and also further afield around Djenne and Tenenkou, the army said in a statement.

"These actions resulted from efforts to search for and gather information on the perpetrators of the attacks against civilians on 18 June," the statement said.

The army did not provide any assessment of the operations, which no other sources have confirmed.

Grave concerns

Mali suffered one of its worst civilian killings over the weekend, the latest in an ongoing series of massacres across the Sahel.

According to the government, 132 civilians were killed in Diallassagou and two surrounding villages, a few dozen kilometres from the town of Bankass.

The UN, France and other international observers have expressed grave concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Mali.

Dozens of civilians protested on Tuesday in Bankass to demand state protection.

Mali has been rocked by jihadist insurgencies since 2012.

Violence began in the north and then spread to the centre and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

(with wires)

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