Ogossagou massacre exposes rising bloodshed in European-occupied Mali
Stéphane Hugues and Alex Lantier
30 March 2019
The horrific massacre in the central Malian village of Ogossagou is exposing the brutal realities of the war in Mali launched by Paris in 2013. Under French and German military occupation, this country—one of the poorest in the world—is being torn apart by a rising wave of ethnic bloodshed.
Just before dawn on March 23, a band of approximately 100 fighters dressed in ethnic Dogon garb and bearing firearms arrived in Ogossagou, a Peul (or Fulani) village in the region of Bankass, near the border with Burkina Faso. They proceeded to shoot or kill everyone they could find, from the elderly down to the smallest infants. Approximately 160 people were killed and 55 wounded.
Eighteen people sought refuge in the house of the village marabout (healer), Bara Sékou Issa, who is known across West Africa, hoping the gunmen would not attack a marabout’s house. Sékou Issa had already welcomed a number of refugees from nearby villages into his home, offering them room and board. However, the attackers set Sékou Issa’s house on fire and gunned down anyone fleeing the house to escape the flames. All of Sékou Issa’s religious students reportedly perished in the flames inside his house.
The attackers slit the throat of the village chief, Amadou Barry, in front of his mother, aged 90, and then executed her, as well.
The village was left devastated, with houses and buildings burnt down and even livestock and domestic animals killed. Ismaïla Cissé, one of the Malian army’s few Peul officers, told the press: “They want to wipe us off the surface of the earth. Otherwise, how can one explain that they killed children, the elderly, and even livestock?”