At least five Malian soldiers were killed and five others were injured in twin attacks in Mali’s restive central region on Sunday.
According to the army and local sources, the attacks were carried out by suspected Islamist militants on a military convoy and camp. The convoy was ambushed while en route from Goma-Coura to Diabaly village while the military camp at Goma-Coura was simultaneously hit by heavy artillery.
A local official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that four pickup trucks and an armoured vehicle went missing in the attack on the convoy. The army, meanwhile, said that some vehicles were destroyed in the attack on the camp.
The latest attacks are a setback to the West African nation which is also dealing with civilian protests against the administration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Malians are unhappy with the government’s handling of the insurgency among other issues such as corruption and the state of the economy.
International and regional powers fear political instability in Mali could undermine their military campaigns against Islamist militants in West Africa’s Sahel region.
Mali’s military 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.
Islamic extremists took over Mali’s north in 2012. France, Mali’s former colonial ruler, led a 2013 military operation that ousted them from their urban strongholds. Since then, however, the extremists roam through the open, desert areas of northern Mali.
Mali’s military has failed to stem the violence despite support from France and the UN peacekeeping mission.
Thousands of civilians and soldiers have been killed while hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced following the insurgency which began in 2012.