The Malian army has reported that it killed at least 50 militants during an operation in which it managed to rescue some of the soldiers who were captured during deadly attacks in September on two bases in the center of the country.
Unidentified assailants killed 38 soldiers during the 30 September attacks, among the heaviest losses for Mali’s army this year as it struggles to repel increasingly brazen raids by militant groups, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.
“Around 50 enemy neutralized, around 30 wounded, and equipment destroyed,” the army said in statement detailing the results of its counter-operation.
The army said it had freed 36 of around 60 of its soldiers who were missing following the September raids. Their relatives have protested over the high death toll and a lack of information on the casualties and those missing.
The West African country has been in conflict since 2012 when Islamists hijacked an ethnic uprising by Tuaregs in the north. The violence has since moved to central Mali, from where jihadist fighters launch attacks across the Sahel region.