(Bloomberg) -- At least 20 people have been killed in a militia attack on an ethnic Tuareg organization in Mali’s Gao region, which has witnessed a surge of violence between armed groups even as French and West African troops are carrying out anti-jihadist operations in the area.
Gunmen in vehicles and on motorbikes attacked a checkpoint close to the Niger border that was manned by militants from the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad, a Tuareg group, Agence France-Presse reported Monday, citing local officials. It wasn’t immediately clear who was responsible for the raid, the Paris-based agency said.
Intercommunal violence in Mali’s northern Gao and Menaka regions has escalated in recent weeks, killing scores of civilians from Tuareg and Fulani communities. The clashes occurred as a French military operation targeting the jihadist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara is underway.
The al-Qaeda affiliated organization Group of Support for Muslims and Islam, known as JNIM, is also active in the region. There have been at least 94 extrajudicial killings in the Menaka region since the beginning of the year, the United Nations said last month.
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