At least 24 soldiers were killed and others reported missing following an attack on a convoy by unidentified gunmen in central Mali on Saturday.
According to army officials, the attack took place in the town of Diabaly in Segou region, about 100 kilometres from the border with Mauritania, and targeted a convoy of 12 vehicles out of which four were completely destroyed.
Eight soldiers who survived the ambush were rescued following the incident. No group has claimed responsibility for the ambush.
This is the latest attack on the Malian military which has suffered great losses in terms of personnel and equipment in the fight to regain the nation’s peace and stability.
In January, 19 soldiers were killed and five others wounded in an attack on an army camp in central Mali.
In mid-November last year, 24 Malian soldiers were killed and 29 wounded in an attack on an army patrol in northern Mali in which 17 militants were also killed.
That attack came shortly after of the deadliest ones in which more than 50 soldiers were killed in an assault on a military post in Indelimane, in the country’s northeast.
Mali, particularly its central region, has been plagued by deadly ethnic and jihadist violence since 2012 when a revolt broke out leaving thousands of people dead and thousands of others displaced.
Despite the deployment of thousands of troops from the UN and France, which runs a separate anti-insurgent mission across the Sahel region, Mali’s military has failed to stem the violence which has spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.