At least 12 people have been confirmed killed during a siege of a hotel in central Mali, which lasted nearly 24 hours. A second attack followed Sunday at a village in northern Mali, killing 10 civilians.
Gunmen have killed 10 civilians in an attack on the village of Gaberi in northern Mali, a day after a siege at the Hotel Byblos in Sevare ended following a dramatic pre-dawn raid.
Malian army spokesman Souleymane Maiga said it was too soon to know if the village attack was connected to the hotel siege.
Thiebile Drame, a former foreign minister and leader of the opposition Party for National Rebirth, said that no region was being spared during a recent upsurge of extremism in Mali.
"The arrogance and audacity of the aggressors seem to have no limits," he said.
Four UN personnel were freed in the pre-dawn raid at the hotel on Saturday, although 12 people were killed. Among the dead were five UN workers, according to the UN's peacekeeping operation in Mali, but Malian officials only counted three hostages dead.
No one has claimed responsibility for the assault, which coincided with the recent surge in jihadist attacks in the region.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the attack, saying it wouldn't alter the UN's determination to support the Malian people.
Increased security measures
Soldiers could be seen in Sevare on Sunday, as well as along the road to the regional capital Mopti. The town, and nearby Dogon Country - a UNESCO World Heritage site - are popular tourist destinations.
Jihadist attacks have long been concentrated in Mali's north, but began spreading early this year to the center of the country. In June, it spread further south near the borders with Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
Two attacks early this month in central and northern Mali left 13 soldiers dead.
Shaky peace agreement
A 2013 French-led military operation drove back Islamist fighters, who had taken advantage of an ethnic Tuareg rebellion and a military coup to seize territory in the north a year earlier.
The UN has managed to broker a tenuous peace agreement between the government and Tuareg separatists, but Islamist fighters left out of the negotiations have mounted an insurgency.
ss/cmk (Reuters, AFP)