Dozens of soldiers killed in the attack on a military camp in Mali

A jihadist attack on a military camp in central Mali on Friday killed 27 soldiers and 47 “terrorists” were “neutralized”, the country’s army said.

The fighting left 33 soldiers injured, 21 seriously, and seven missing, the army said in a statement, while 23 other suspects were “neutralized” later in the day.

The West African state has been battling jihadist movements affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group for nearly a decade, with around two-thirds of its territory outside state control.

A French military source speaking on condition of anonymity said hundreds of jihadists attacked the camp of around 150 soldiers around 0600 GMT, killing between 40 and 50.

The Malian army said the attack happened around 0530 GMT.

The jihadists seized 21 vehicles, including tanks, and injured more than 20 soldiers, the source added.

The source said that the Malian army did not request support from the French military operation Barkhane because the camp was “the place where Barkhane was asked not to operate, probably due to the presence of Wagnerian mercenaries “, referring to the Russian paramilitary group.

A military official told AFP that the army and air force had “reacted vigorously”.

The Mondoro base is near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso and has previously been targeted by jihadists fighting the Malian state and foreign forces.

About 50 soldiers died after an attack on Mondoro and the nearby camp of Boulkessi in September 2019.

The French army said around 100 attackers were “routed” following a mission between Barkhane and the Malian army against jihadists trying to take the base in January 2021.

Jihadist and separatist fighters – some affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group – began operations in Mali in 2012 and the conflict has since spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso, killing and displacing thousands of civilians.

Friday’s attack comes as the military landscape in the Sahel changes following France’s decision to withdraw from Mali and the arrival of Russian instructors, who the West says are Wagner mercenaries.

Diplomatic relations between Bamako’s military junta and Paris have soured in recent months as the West African regional bloc imposed harsh sanctions on the Malian government’s delay in returning to civilian rule.


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