At least 10 Malian soldiers were killed on Sunday in an attack by alleged jihadists against an army camp in the town of Guiré (centre), near the border with Mauritania, a Malian security source said.
“At least ten soldiers were killed, the terrorists came from the Wagadou forest”, a refuge for Malian Islamists for years, said this security source under cover of anonymity.
“They were on motorcycles and pickup trucks. They attacked the camp, vehicles were burned, others taken away,” according to the same source.
The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) confirmed the attack on Twitter: “The #FAMa were attacked on Sunday, April 21, 2019 at around 5 a.m. in #Guiré, in the #Nara sector. Reinforcements were sent there. The evaluations are ongoing.
“There are deaths and damage,” a Malian military source told AFP.
“The shots were like rain. The military was surprised. The jihadists came from the east and south of the military camp. They burned vehicles and left with vehicles. I saw two terrorists put their motorcycles in the army vehicle and drive away with them,” said a local resident contacted by AFP.
According to a Malian military source, reinforcements were dispatched from Nara, 370 km north of Bamako and 105 km from Guiré.
Northern Mali had fallen in March-April 2012 under the control of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda. These groups have been largely driven out by an international military intervention, launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France, which continues.
But entire areas of the country are still beyond the control of Malian, French and UN forces, which are regularly targeted by attacks, despite the signing in May-June 2015 of a peace agreement, which is supposed to definitively isolate jihadists, whose implementation is running behind schedule.
Since 2015, these attacks have spread to central and southern Mali and the phenomenon is spreading to neighbouring countries, particularly Burkina Faso and Niger, very often mixing with inter-community conflicts.
An Egyptian peacekeeper was killed and four members of his unit injured on Saturday by a mine explosion as their convoy passed through the centre of the country, near the border with Burkina Faso, according to the UN.