Around 20 Malian soldiers were killed on Monday in an apparent jihadist attack, officials said, in the latest bout of violence to hit the war-torn West African state.
Early Monday morning, militants attacked a military base in the northern town of Bamba, according to a local government official, who called the assailants ‘terrorists’ and said at least 20 soldiers had died.
Another local official gave a similar account, explaining that the assailants arrived on motorbikes and in cars.
‘Investigations are still on-going on the ground because the death toll must be higher than the 20 deaths announced,’ the official said.
Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist revolt that first broke out in the north in 2012, and has since spread to the centre of the country and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of Malian soldiers and civilians have died, despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops. It was not immediately clear who carried out Monday’s attack.
‘We saw 23 bodies on the spot,’ the Bamba resident said, describing the aftermath of the raid, adding that militants had destroyed the camp and stolen equipment.
‘No civilian was hurt, this was an operation against the camp,’ the resident added.
The attack in Mali follows another in jihadist-ridden northern Cameroon on Sunday.
Two suicide bombers — suspected to be members of Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist group — blew themselves up in a border town in the Central African country and killed seven people.
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