Nine Malian soldiers have been killed and eleven injured in an attack by jihadists in the central part of the country, Mali army command said. A state in West Africa has been struggling with regular attacks by armed jihadist groups for almost a decade.
“An armed Malian convoy on the route between the towns of Koro and Bandiagara has become the target of an attack with explosives and shelling,” the Malian army said in a statement on Thursday. The staff also said that Malian soldiers “reacted quickly” and chased the bombers, killing 15 of them and capturing more than 20 motorcycles.
Chaos after the coup in Bamako
Mali plunged into chaos in 2012 when jihadists linked to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State used a military coup in Bamako to hijack the separatist Tuareg insurgency and seize the desert north of the country. Since then, the country has faced regular attacks by armed jihadist groups.
In the summer of 2013, UN forces were sent to Mali to help normalize the situation in the north of the country. France also started a separate operation to restore peace.
Despite foreign interventions, jihadist violence, often mixed with social strife and banditry, continues and has spread to central Mali and neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Niger since 2015.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA