Extremists Attack Wedding Ceremony in Mali and Kill at Least 21

Extremists Attack Wedding Ceremony in Mali and Kill at Least 21
Malian troops stand guard prior to the visit of the French Prime Minister at the Operation Barkane military French base in Gao, Mali, on Feb. 24, 2019. (Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images)

BAMAKO, Mali—An armed group attacked a wedding ceremony in central Mali and killed at least 21 people, residents said Wednesday, as the West African nation’s military rulers struggle to combat growing violence by extremists.

The assailants rode on motorcycles into Djiguibombo village in the town of Bandiagara on Monday evening as residents celebrated the couple, according to Bakary Guindo, president of the local youth group.

Resident Hamidou Saye said the attackers surrounded the large number of attendees.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Communities across central and northern Mali have been in the grip of such violence since 2012. Extremist rebels were forced from power in northern cities the following year with the help of recently expelled French troops. The extremists have regrouped and launched attacks on remote villages and security forces.

Nearly four years after seizing power and following the departure of foreign peacekeepers, Mali’s military rulers have had little success in containing the violence. At the same time, a 2015 peace deal with ethnic Tuareg rebels active in the north has collapsed, deepening the security crisis.