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Several Mali Soldiers Killed In ‘Jihadist’ Attack

A local official said casualties including injured and missing ran to as many as 20 after Thursday's attack which saw an army column ambushed while escorting trucks towards neighbouring Niger


Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa and the eighth-largest country in Africa
Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa and the eighth-largest country in Africa

 

Several Mali soldiers were killed in an attack which the army blamed Friday on jihadist fighters in the northeastern Menaka region.

“According to a first tally, we lost six men,” said an army spokesman, adding troops were searching for survivors.

“The terrorists lost at least 15 combatants,” he added.

A local official said casualties including injured and missing ran to as many as 20 after Thursday’s attack which saw an army column ambushed while escorting trucks towards neighbouring Niger, itself in a standoff with neighbours after last week’s military coup which has sparked a regional crisis.

Both the army spokesman and local official spoke on condition of anonymity with authorities not having made any official comment on the incident.

The official said both Malian troops and Russia’s Wagner paramilitary force were deployed in the area.

The ruling junta has presented the Russian fighters, bolstering its fight against myriad Islamist groups in the zone, as instructors.

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Mali, ruled by a junta following a 2020 coup, has backed the Niger coup and warned it will consider any military intervention from outside the country as a “declaration of war.”

A member of the Niger junta stressed during a Wednesday visit to Bamako the importance of cooperation between the two neighbouring states as they face up to jihadist incursions.

Northern Mali has been racked by an insurgency since 2012 and the unrest has since spread to central areas and beyond to Burkina Faso as well as Niger.

The Menaka region has for months been at the forefront of a push by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. A recent Human Rights Watch report accused the group of being behind “hundreds” of deaths and forcing thousands from their homes since the start of the year.

AFP