Three villages were attacked by armed men on motorcycles who are suspected to be jihadist, killed at least 27 people where some were burned alive claiming of protecting Fulani herders from Dogon farmers.
The villages, Bankass, Koro and Tillé are predominantly inhabited by Christians in Central Mali, “We were surprised by the attack on the village of Tillé,” Doucombo Deputy Mayor Yacouba Kassogué told the news agency. “Seven were killed, all Dogons, some of them burned alive.” While at least 20 people were killed in Bankass and Koro.
According to the interdenominational Christian aid agency Barnabus Aid, the attacks carried out last week in Central Mali victimized “mainly-Christian Dogon villages.”
“Since 2016, jihadists have been waging a war to occupy north and central Mali with the declared aim of establishing Sharia (Islamic law) throughout the country,” a statement from the aid agency reads.
“Mali suffered its worst year of extremist violence in seven years in 2019. Jihadi militants carried out murderous attacks in the north and central area, laying waste to Christian villages and causing hundreds to flee with only the clothes on their backs.”
Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List ranks Mali as the 29th-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution.
According to the Joshua Project, the Dogon community has traditionally celebrated animistic religion but are increasingly turning to Islam “for lack of an alternative.” Today, the majority of Dogon communities are Muslim but about 11% believe in Jesus. Christian Post reports.
“In the few villages where Christianity has been lived out by missionaries, or locals who have become Christians elsewhere, one can indeed see the growth of the Christian faith,” the Joshua Project reports.
According to an Open Doors dossier on Mali, Islamic militants in the country “have been busy attacking the country’s security forces and Christians.” The document reports that “Christian villages were targeted and destroyed, with the attacks sometimes having both ethnic and religious elements.”
“With the increasing attacks in the Mopti region and other areas, church schools and churches have been burned down, hundreds of schools (including Christian schools) have been closed down in 2019,” an Open Doors field researcher was quoted as saying.