An attack on a camp in Mali for people fleeing violence has killed 11 people

An attack by suspected Islamic extremists on a camp outside Gao housing people previously fleeing violence in northern Mali has killed 11 people, officials said Thursday.

The attackers also destroyed the camp’s food supplies and stole all the livestock, said former Gao Mayor Sadou Diallo.

The United Nations confirmed Monday’s attack in a statement, although authorities in the Gao region have not yet reported it.

“Those (IDPs) fleeing insecurity are doubly affected by the violence of this attack, further compounding their vulnerability,” said UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator Alain Noudehou.

There was no immediate admission of responsibility, but the attack bears the hallmarks of militants linked to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara group targeting civilians in the Gao and Menaka regions.

The attack near Gao comes amid growing fears of extremist violence in Mali following the withdrawal of French forces earlier this year after nine years of helping fight militants in the West African country. France’s departure comes amid deteriorating relations with Col Assimi Goita, who seized power in Mali two years ago.

Goita has become increasingly isolated from Mali’s former international partners. The UK recently announced it would withdraw its 300 peacekeepers from Mali as the country’s growing reliance on Russian mercenaries is undermining stability.

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