Four Mali soldiers killed in suspected jihadist attack

The flag of Mali pinned on the map. Horizontal orientation. Macro photography.
FILE PHOTO: French soldiers of the “Belleface” Desert Tactical Group (GTD) set up camp for the night in the Gourma region during the Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Four Mali soldiers were killed and eight wounded on Sunday in a suspected jihadist attack on an army camp in the far north of Mali, the Malian military said.

“The provisional toll is four dead, eight injured and several vehicles taken,” army colonel Boubacar Sanogoh, regional commander for the Timbuktu region, told AFP.

Communications minister Yaya Sangare confirmed a death toll of four and tweeted it, following intervention by the Malian air force backed by (French-led force) Barkhane and (UN mission) MINUSMA.

The military had earlier tweeted that the outpost in Bambara Maounde, about 100 km south of Timbuktu city “was the object of a terrorist attack at about 0500 GMT”, alongside an initial toll of three dead and five wounded, plus “material damage.”

According to one local official, “the terrorists left taking vehicles and military equipment with them together with the bodies of their comrades.”

The attack is the latest in a long series of deadly incidents in Mali’s north, where French forces said Friday they have killed about 50 jihadists so far this month.

France said recently it would strengthen its contingent in Operations Barkhane from 4,500 to 1,500 by month’s end.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has raised the prospect of opening a dialogue with some jihadists as a means of trying to find an exit from eight years of conflict.

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