Based off of the recent attack in Mali that left at least 95 people dead and 19 missing in an ethnic Dogon village, the Freemuslim Association condemns any and all acts of violence carried out by extremist groups in Mali. Tribal disagreements should not lead to innocent people being killed, and this violence only sets the country back economically and socially.

The Fulani are primarily cattle breeders and traders, while the Dogon are traditionally sedentary farmers. Violence between the two ethnic groups has compounded an already dire security situation in Mali’s semi-arid and desert regions that are used as a base by armed groups with ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS). Jihadist terrorist issues have become mixed up with long-standing inter-communal tensions over access to land, water, and grazing. This has fostered tension between Dogon and Bambara farming communities on one hand and the Peul (Fulani) livestock herders on the other. The issues are not easy to solve. With the population rising, climate change threatening the environment, jihadists preaching their extremist ideologies, and the new assortment of killings, mistrust and bitterness are quickly being fueled and leading to violations of human rights.

We implore the Malian government to protect innocent human beings in all of Mali and to promote a culture of coexistence and stability. We ask other human rights organizations to do the same. Security in Mali helps stabilize security in other states such as Niger, Algeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mauritania. Many of the tribal disputes are due to economic instability, and the government can play a key role in advocating and promoting for more inclusive methods to reduce these disagreements by introducing incentives for tribes and villages that peacefully coexist with their neighbors.