11 soldiers killed in attack on Mali camp

2015-08-04 07:47

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bamako - Eleven soldiers were killed Monday in a "terrorist" attack on their camp in northern Mali's Timbuktu region, a government statement said, an assault claimed by Al-Qaeda's front group in the region.

Jihadist attacks have long been concentrated in Mali's north, but began spreading at the beginning of the year to the centre of the country, and in June to the south near the borders with Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

"Unidentified gunmen attacked a security post of the Mali National Guard" early on Monday morning in Gourma-Rharous, an area around 140km east of Timbuktu, the statement said.

"The toll is 11 guards killed, one wounded," it added, condemning it as a "cowardly and barbaric terrorist act perpetuated by lawless individuals".

A local resident told AFP that they were "holed up inside" on Monday morning during the attack.

‘We are afraid’

"We began leaving our homes at 07:00. We were afraid."

According to Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar, jihadist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqimj) claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Our... fighters attacked at dawn the Malian army base in this village and we succeeded in killing nine soldiers," Aqim spokesperson Abou Darda Al-Chinguitty said by telephone, according to the agency.

They also "destroyed four vehicles and took significant loot", the spokesperson added.

The Al-Akhbar agency regularly carries jihadist statements, but by Monday evening the claim had not been reported through other channels often used by militants to announce operations.

Two Malian military sources confirmed the attack but gave a toll of 10 dead. One of the sources, however, said the attackers were believed to be "jihadist elements" linked to Islamist group Ansar Dine.

'Cowardly terrorist attacks'

The attack comes days after two Malian soldiers were killed and four others wounded in an ambush in the centre of the west African country.

In a statement, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali MINUSMA condemned what it said were "cowardly terrorist attacks", referring to both incidents.

The URD, one of Mali's main opposition parties, also issued a statement condemning the violence.

Mali's north came under the control of Ansar Dine - which is Arabic for Defenders of Faith - and two other jihadist groups, Aqimand the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, in April 2012. Ansar Dine has been accused of close links with al-Qaeda.

A move south towards the capital by the extremists, who imposed a brutal version of sharia law on inhabitants, prompted Mali's former colonial master France to intervene in January 2013, pounding their positions in the north.

While their organisational structure has been smashed, small pockets of armed Islamists have managed to remain active, and continue to carry out occasional deadly attacks in the desert.

Monday's attack is Mali's second deadliest in a month, after six UN peacekeepers from Burkina Faso were killed last month in an assault claimed by Aqim.

The latest violence illustrated the difficulty in maintaining stability in the country despite a peace accord being signed in June by the country's main blocs, including Mali's Tuareg-led rebel alliance, as well as government and loyalist militias.

Read more on:    un  |  tuaregs  |  aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  mali  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.