Twenty people have been left dead in Mali after unknown gunmen attacked two villages in central Menaka region near the border with Niger.

picture depicting a gunman

Mohamed Ag Albachar of the Azawad self-defence group, said on Wednesday that armed men attacked two villages on Tuesday, about 40km from Menaka.

The attackers killed 20 civilians, including elderly people, and some security personnel also died in the attack.

The attack has not been claimed but it bears the marks of jihadists who stage attacks in the region in retaliation against Tuaregs who are fighting against the Islamic State.

Attacks against civilians have increased in Mali’s Menaka area since 2018, when the UN’s mission in Mali documented 100 cases of human rights violations there.

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