At least 16 soldiers killed in central Mali

On Wednesday (6 October) at least 16 Malian army soldiers were killed by an explosive device in an apparent jihadist attack.

An original assessment by the Malian army reported a “provisional toll of five dead and eight wounded” in its ranks, during a “complex IED [improvised explosive device] attack” in the late morning. A security source later told Agence France-Presse, “The new death toll is 16 dead and 10 injured, including serious cases”, confirming that the attack occurred on the road between Bankass and Bandiagara. This was confirmed by a source at the Bandiagara community health centre, who acknowledged the 16 bodies in the locality's mortuary.

The Malian military claimed that its soldiers “reacted energetically” and pursued the attackers, killing 15 members of GAT (armed terrorist groups) and seizing around 20 motorcycles, which they published pictures of.

The attack was claimed by Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), linked to Al-Qaeda. The JNIM also claimed responsibility for another attack on an army medical evacuation convoy in the centre of the country, which claimed the lives of four Malian soldiers, as well as an ambush on 12 September near Macina in the same region, in which five soldiers perished.

These attacks follow another last weekend, when an explosive device was used to target the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA), killing one blue helmet and injuring four others.

These incidents occur amid growing tensions between Mali and France, which has been actively involved in the fight against jihadism in the country since 2013. Whilst Mali claims that it has been abandoned by its long-term ally, France has repeatedly denounced these accusations. The most recent illustration of these tense developments unfolded on Tuesday, when the French ambassador to Mali was summoned to the Malian Foreign Ministry to “invite the French authorities to [use] restraint, avoiding value judgments", following a statement made by Macron against the ruling military junta. This succession of events has sparked even more tensions between the two countries which claim to share the same interest in eradicating the jihadist threat that has been plaguing the Sahel country for almost a decade.

 

source: commonspace.eu with Le Figaro (Paris) and agencies.
photo: Photograph of the motorcycled seized by the Malian army following the attack on its soldiers on Wednesday, 6 October 2021; @FAMa_DIRPA.

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Editor's choice
News
Burkina Faso continues the trend of military coups in West Africa

Burkina Faso continues the trend of military coups in West Africa

The president of Burkina Faso – Roch Kaboré - has been overthrown by a group of soldiers in the third military coup in West Africa in eight months. In a televised broadcast on Monday coup leaders announced the closure of land and air borders from midnight, dissolved the government and the National Assembly and "suspended" the Constitution. A curfew was also decreed, from 9 pm to 5 am, throughout the country, "until further notice".

Popular

Editor's choice
News
Burkina Faso continues the trend of military coups in West Africa

Burkina Faso continues the trend of military coups in West Africa

The president of Burkina Faso – Roch Kaboré - has been overthrown by a group of soldiers in the third military coup in West Africa in eight months. In a televised broadcast on Monday coup leaders announced the closure of land and air borders from midnight, dissolved the government and the National Assembly and "suspended" the Constitution. A curfew was also decreed, from 9 pm to 5 am, throughout the country, "until further notice".