Several soldiers killed, dozens injured in attacks in Mali

Six soldiers were killed and 20 injured in simultaneous attacks targeting three military bases in central Mali on Sunday, the army said.

Targets in Sévaré, Niono and Bapho were all hit by “armed terrorist groups (who) used suicide vehicles packed with explosives”, the Malian army said in a statement.

A group linked to the incendiary preacher Amadou Koufa claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to an audio transmitted to AFP on Sunday by a source close to the alleged attackers.

The group, Katiba de Macina, belongs to the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an alliance linked to Al-Qaeda and the largest jihadist network in the Sahel.

“On Sunday morning, the Katiba mujahideen from Macina struck three camps of the (Malian armed forces),” a member of the group told AFP in an audio message.

The source said Bapho and Niono were hit, according to information from the Malian army.

He also said that Ségou had been attacked, which was not among the targets mentioned by the Malian army.

“We hit these camps at the same time within five minutes of each other. (Apart from) the dead, we caused material damage to them,” the audio recording reads.

Military sources had earlier told AFP that the attacks took place at 05:00 GMT in Sevare, Niono and Bapho, all located in the center of the country.

In Sévaré, “there was a double terrorist attack with gunshots and devices that exploded,” said one of the sources.

“The military retaliated. We are unable to provide a toll at this time,” the source added.

“We have asked MINUSMA (United Nations Mission in Mali), as part of our collaboration, to send a rapid intervention force near the Sévaré camp to help secure it,” the source continued.

A separate military source within MINUSMA confirmed the information.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Mali has been grappling with a decade-long jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Public anger over President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s failure to roll back the insurgency sparked a military coup in August 2020.

(AFP)

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