A minimum of 53 troopers and a civilian have been killed in an assault on a army submit in northeast Mali, based on the nation’s communication minister.
The assault, one of many deadliest in opposition to Malian forces, came about in Indelimane, within the Menaka area near the border with Niger, Yaya Sangare wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
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He mentioned the state of affairs had been introduced “underneath management”, including: “A search and the method of figuring out the our bodies is continuous.”
Ten survivors had been discovered on the outpost, which suffered “important” harm, based on Sangare, who didn’t give additional particulars.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) armed group claimed duty for the assault by way of its media arm Amaq, with out citing proof.
“Troopers of the caliphate attacked a army base the place parts of the apostate Malian military had been stationed within the village of Indelimane,” the group mentioned.
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Vall, who has reported extensively from Mali, mentioned the assault concerned a minimum of three suicide bombers who detonated explosives contained in the army camp, based on safety sources.
He added the demise toll may rise.
The Malian authorities earlier condemned the “terrorist assault”, saying it had left quite a few lifeless or wounded however with out giving a exact toll.
“Reinforcements have been dispatched to safe the world and seek out the attackers,” it mentioned in a press release.
The assault comes a month after two assaults killed 40 troopers close to the border with Burkina Faso, however a number of sources advised AFP information company the demise toll had been downplayed.
Mali’s military has been struggling within the face of standard flare-ups of violence which have unfold from the arid north to its centre, an ethnically combined and risky area.
The current assaults are additionally a serious blow for the so-called G5 Sahel drive – a much-trumpeted initiative underneath which 5 international locations created a joint 5,000-man anti-terror drive – and for France, which is dedicated to shoring up the delicate area.
Northern Mali got here underneath the management of al-Qaeda-linked fighters after Mali’s military didn’t quash a rebel there in 2012.
A French-led army marketing campaign was launched in opposition to the fighters, pushing them again a 12 months later.
However the armed teams have regrouped and widened their hit-and-run raids.
“These teams are gaining extra momentum, organising themselves higher and making it harder for the peacekeepers and different troopers – notably the Malian military – to manage that area,” Al Jazeera’s Vall mentioned.
The violence has additionally spilt over into Burkina Faso and Niger the place fighters have exploited present inter-communal strife, leaving lots of lifeless.
Paul Melly, a consulting fellow at Chatham Home’s Africa Programme, described the teams working within the area as “extremely cell” and mentioned countering their risk was a “large problem” for safety forces.
“Yesterday’s assault is simply the newest in a sequence of brutal assaults which have typically culminated within the bloodbath of any defeated garrison, assaults clearly geared toward destroying the morale of nationwide armies within the Sahel,” Melly advised Al Jazeera.
“The reply can’t be safety alone. Improvement and higher public administration are key – however after all that’s laborious to supply when authorities personnel are prone to focused killing and it isn’t protected for improvement businesses to function,” he added.
Al Jazeera’s Vall, in the meantime, mentioned the “distinctive” geography of the area was additionally including to safety forces’ struggles to comprise the armed teams.
“It’s a desert and there aren’t any actual borders between the international locations of the Sahel, so it is tough to manage 1000’s and 1000’s of kilometres of desert,” Vall mentioned.
“There aren’t any fences, no outposts for the armed forces, most of them are encamped contained in the cities in northern Mali … primarily involved with the protection of the personnel and never with preventing within the desert in opposition to these teams,” he added.
“So there may be an asymmetry in that conflict between teams that may launch hit-and-run assaults after which cover … and between the common armed forces who use typical means.”