14 killed in Mali land dispute


Over 40 people were injured and 14 killed in clashes over land between residents of Malian villages some 12 kilometres from each other.

BAMAKO - At least 14 people were killed and more than 40 injured in clashes over land between residents of two central Malian villages, a regional official told AFP Sunday.

The clash pitted villagers from Koussouma and Mougna near the ancient town of Djenne on Saturday, with both sides claiming ownership over arable land nearby, the official from the province of Mopti said on condition of anonymity.

"They clashed on Saturday over a land dispute. At least 14 were killed and 42 others were wounded," the official said.

A security source confirmed the clash.

"On Saturday, with the first drops of rainfall, residents started heading towards the land to cultivate it. Residents from the opposing sides protested and then launched an attack," the source said, adding that the violence quickly led to bloodshed.

There was no confirmation of the number of people involved in the clash. The two villages are located some 12 kilometres from each other.

Another security source told AFP a land dispute between the two sides has raged for "at least two years", and that it is the subject of an ongoing court case.

No court officials were available for comment on Sunday.

The governor of Mopti and a local prosecutor are due to visit the two villages on Sunday in a bid to calm tensions, the regional official said.

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