Bamako — United Nations (UN) envoys have condemned the mass killing of women and children during ethnic murders in Mali earlier this week.
At least 35 civilians were killed in the village of Sobanou-Kou, in the Mopti region of central Mali last Sunday, representing a high number of casualties in the area since the beginning of the year.
This includes the January 1 attack on the village of Koulougon, which claimed the lives of 39 civilians, and the attack on March 23 against the village of Ogossagou, in which at least 157 people were killed.
UN envoys called for an urgent need to prevent further brutality and to protect the civilian population, especially women and children, from serious violations.
"Accountability is essential in the quest for peace and stability, and the Malian authorities, with the support of the international community, must intensify their efforts to address the growing insecurity in central Mali," the three UN senior officials said.
The envoys include Adama Dieng (Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide), Karen Smith (Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect) and Virginia Gamba, the UN Special Representative for Children and Conflict.
"We cannot remain silent in the face of ethnic violence, human rights violations and abuses," they stated.
Ethnic violence has characterised Mali since 2015 when tensions spiked between largely Muslim pastoralists and mainly Christian farmers.
Humanitarian assistance and protection for thousands of people in need have been hampered, leaving communities more vulnerable to instability and exposed to serious violations.