Suspected jihadists kill 12 Mali soldiers: security source

Monday April 22 2019

Suspected jihadists killed at least 12 soldiers in an attack Sunday in central Mali, a security source says. PHOTO | GOOGLE MAPS


Suspected jihadists killed at least 12 soldiers in an attack Sunday in central Mali, a security source told AFP, updating an earlier toll.

"The new toll is at least 12 dead, including the post commander, a captain," the source said. An earlier report gave the death toll as at least 10.

The military outpost at Guire was attacked at around five in the morning, the source said earlier.

"The terrorists came out of the forest. They were on motorcycles and pick-up trucks. They burnt vehicles and took away others," said the source, who asked not to be named.

The Mali armed forces confirmed the attack on Twitter, without saying how many soldiers had been killed. They said reinforcements were being sent to the Nara sector, about 370 kilometres north of the capital Bamako.



A local resident contacted by AFP said there had been heavy gunfire and the military "were taken by surprise" in the attack.

"I saw two terrorists put their motorcycles in an army vehicle and drive off with it," he said.

Malian and foreign troops are regularly targeted by jihadist militia.

Suspected jihadists killed 21 Malian soldiers last month in a raid on another army camp in Dioura, central Mali.

On Saturday a UN peacekeeper was killed and four others wounded when a mine exploded as their convoy passed through a central region..

The UN mission was established in Mali after radical Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012 before being pushed back by French troops in 2013.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability. But the accord has failed to stop the violence.

The latest attacks came as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita pursued consultations to pick a new prime minister.

The last one, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, resigned with his entire cabinet last week, under fire from the ruling and opposition parties for failing to clamp down on the unrest.