Mali: Six soldiers killed in three attacks on military camps

Mali: Six soldiers killed in three attacks on military camps

On Sunday April 24, the Malian army announced the death of six soldiers in three simultaneous attacks against military camps in central Mali. These attacks, carried out on Sunday “around 5 o’clock” by “armed terrorist groups [qui] used kamikaze vehicles loaded with explosives,” have done in total “six dead” and twenty wounded in the three camps targeted, in Sévaré, Bapho and Niono, the Malian army said in a statement.

These attacks were claimed by the katiba Macina, of the Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa, in an audio message sent to AFP on Sunday by sources close to this group. This unit of fighters is subordinated to Iyad Ag Ghaly, leader of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), linked to Al-Qaeda. “This Sunday morning, the Katiba Macina mujahideen struck three FAMa camps [Forces armées maliennes] », says this audio message in the Bambara language, citing Ségou, Bapho and Niono. “We hit those camps at the same time with a five-minute gap. [Outre les] dead, we caused them material damage” and “destroyed camps”the jihadists added.

Read also: Mali: in the information war, the French army responds and accuses the Wagner Group

Ségou is not one of the camps cited by the Malian army, which mentioned Sévaré among the camps attacked, contrary to the authors of the claim. According to the army statement, these attacks killed six Malian soldiers, fifteen wounded in Sévaré, one wounded in Bapho and four wounded in Niono. In Sévaré, eleven assailants died, “including the suicide bomber”according to the army, which reports “a lot of military equipment” recovered from the attackers.

In addition, a FAMa unit “on patrol” on the Moura-Tenenko axis (center) was “ambushed […] during which ten terrorists were neutralized”, the army said in a separate statement released on Sunday evening. Following Sunday morning’s attacks, the army “arrested three suspects in Sévaré, [qui] were made available to the gendarmerie for investigations”according to that separate statement.

A deep security crisis

On Twitter, the UN mission in Mali has “firmly” sentenced “the attacks directed against the FAMa in Sévaré, Niono and Bapho”. The Minusma says it has, “at the request of the FAMa, immediately deployed a rapid reaction force in Sévaré”.

Plunged since 2012 into a deep security crisis that the deployment of foreign forces has not been able to resolve, Mali has experienced two military coups since August 2020. Starting in the north of the country, jihadist violence has spread towards the center and south, before the conflict became more complicated with the appearance of community militias and criminal gangs. The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and combatants, and central Mali is currently one of the main centers of crisis in the Sahel.

The soldiers in power since 2020 have moved closer to Moscow at the same time as they turned away from France, which has been militarily engaged in the country against the jihadists since 2013. Mali has thus appealed massively to what it presents as “instructors” from Russia, while Westerners (Paris and Washington in particular) denounce the presence in the country of “mercenaries” of the private Russian group Wagner, which the Malian colonels in power strongly deny. Against the backdrop of the diplomatic crisis with the junta, Paris announced in February the withdrawal of its soldiers deployed in Mali, an operation to be completed this summer.

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The World with AFP

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