Didier Reynders strongly condemns the violent attack of yesterday against a village in Mali

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence Didier Reynders strongly condemns the odious attack which caused the violent death of at least 135 persons yesterday in Mali, close to the border with Burkina Faso.

Early Saturday morning, armed individuals stormed into the village of Ogossagou, in the centre of Mali. These men murdered over a hundred civilians, among which women and children, and caused significant damage to the houses. The toll of this attack is extremely heavy. The thoughts of Minister Reynders go in the first instance to the family and friends of the victims, to whom he addresses his sincere condolences.

While the efforts to implement the Peace agreement, focussed on the north of the country, continue, the situation in the centre of Mali is extremely worrying. In 2018, violence made at least 500 victims. Predominantly because of tensions between communities - mostly Peul and Dogon - and through the activities of armed radical groups. An escalation of violence in the centre of Mali would be disastrous for the whole of Mali and would not to be in anyone’s interest. Minister Reynders reiterates his appeal to reason and calm and reaffirms Belgium’s commitment to issues of security and development.

Belgium, together with the European Union and United Nations, stands on the side of Mali in its efforts for a durable return of peace. Our country calls to favour dialogue over violence, supports the return of rule of law as a guarantee of basic services to the population, as well as the fight against impunity so as to maintain confidence between all components of society.