Thirty Malian soldiers were killed on Monday in an attack attributed to jihadists in eastern Mali near the Nigerian border, Malian security sources said on Tuesday, while the army had so far reported a record of 24 soldiers killed.
« Thirty bodies of soldiers who fell during a mission in the Tabankort area (Menaka region) arrived in Gao (north) from Niamey (Niger) » Tuesday at midday, said the source.
The victims were to be buried Tuesday in a military camp in Gao, a large city in northern Mali, in the presence of Defense Minister Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele, according to the Malian security source.
The search for soldiers « scattered » during the attack continues, she added. Malian and Nigerian forces were conducting a joint operation Monday against the jihadists when a patrol was attacked in this border area, according to the Malian army.
The « terrorists » (the jihadists in the vocabulary of the Malian army) have themselves lost 17 men, killed in the fighting, and a hundred « suspects » were captured and were in the hands of the Nigerian forces, said Monday the Malian army on social networks.
This new deadly attack came as the French army announced the death or capture of some 30 jihadists in November, during a large joint operation with Burkinabe, Malian and Nigerian forces on the borders of Burkina Faso and Mali. and during another operation of the only French commandos in eastern Mali on Saturday.
A French soldier was seriously injured in operation on Saturday, she said. Monday’s attack is another blow for the Malian army after the death of a hundred soldiers in two jihadist attacks in a month this fall in the same border of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
It is also a further illustration of the continuing deterioration of security that alarms the international community in this region and more widely in the Sahel.
Since their appearance in northern Mali in 2012, jihadist violence has spread to the center of the country and to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, despite the presence of the French (Barkhane) regional forces (G5 Sahel joint force including Mali , Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad) or the UN (Minusma).