May 21, 2024

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Mali: Dozens of passengers abducted by suspected jihadists near Bandiagara freed

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Local reports claim that several hostages abducted by suspected jihadists near Bandiagara in Central Mali have been freed.

Local groups and officials in Mali had been calling for the release of more than 110 people kidnapped by suspected jihadists on Tuesday April 16.

With no reliable figures obtained yet, the RFI news agency reports that several dozens of people were released on Wednesday, mainly villagers whose authorities had signed informal ‘peace’ agreements with some jihadist groups operating in their zone.

“It is the hostages from communes that have not signed local agreements with the jihadists who are still being held” according to RFI.

The hostages had been traveling in at least three buses that were stopped by armed men and driven into a forest between Bandiagara and Bankass, in the centre of the country last week before being intercepted.

The kidnappers according to villagers in the communities are believed to be jihadists from the al-Qaeda-linked Jnim (Groupe de soutien à l’Islam et aux musulmans).

Neither the group nor any other operating in the region has claimed responsibility.

Since 2012, Central Mali has been plagued by fighting between different factions affiliated to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, as well as by self-declared, self-defense forces and bandits.

The worsening security situation has been compounded by a humanitarian and political crisis.

The violence spilled over into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, with all three countries seeing military regimes seize power in recent years.

By Rédaction Africanews 

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