Militants kill several soldiers in Mali

An attack in the northeastern Menaka region of Mali resulted in the deaths of several soldiers, with the army attributing the incident to militants, as stated on Friday.

“According to a first tally, we lost six men,” said an army spokesman, adding troops were searching for survivors.

“The terrorists lost at least 15 combatants,” he added.

A local authority indicated that the toll from Thursday’s attack, encompassing both injured and missing individuals, could amount to around 20. The incident involved an army convoy being ambushed while providing security for trucks heading towards neighboring Niger.

Notably, Niger itself is facing a situation of unrest with neighboring countries due to the recent military coup last week, leading to a regional crisis.

Both the army spokesperson and the local official provided their remarks under the condition of anonymity, as authorities have not yet issued any official statements regarding the incident.

The official mentioned that both Malian troops and the Russian Wagner paramilitary force had been deployed in the region.

The governing junta has introduced the Russian fighters as instructors, enhancing their efforts against various Islamist groups operating in the area.

Mali, governed by a junta established after a coup in 2020, has supported the coup in Niger and has cautioned that it would perceive any external military intervention as a “declaration of war.”

During a visit to Bamako on Wednesday, a representative of the Niger junta emphasized the significance of collaboration between the two neighboring countries as they confront incursions by militant groups.

Since 2012, a insurgency has plagued northern Mali, with the turmoil subsequently extending to central regions and spreading further to Burkina Faso and Niger.

The Menaka region has been a focal point for several months in the advancement of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. A recent report from Human Rights Watch implicated the group in causing “hundreds” of fatalities and displacing thousands from their residences since the beginning of the year.

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