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Gunmen attack villages in central Mali, kill 20 people

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The spokesman for a Tuareg group in Mali says gunmen have attacked two villages in the country's central Menaka region near the border with Niger, killing at least 20 people. Mohamed Ag Albachar of the Azawad self-defense group, said Wednesday that armed men attacked two villages on Tuesday, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) 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 U.N.'s mission in Mali documented 100 cases of human rights violations there.

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