- Col. Maj. Diarran Kone said an investigation has been opened to ascertain who staged the attack.
- Hiding homemade bombs under well-travelled roads is a frequent means of attack used by armed groups in the region.
- Mali has been struggling to contain an armed uprising that erupted in the north in 2012.
Five Malian soldiers have been killed and four others wounded in a roadside bomb attack, a government spokesperson has said. The troops were travelling in the region of Alatona, near the border with Mauritania, when their convoy hit a bomb on Monday morning. Four vehicles were destroyed in the blast. “Reinforcements are already in place for the operation to neutralize the enemies,” government spokesman, Yaya Sangare said on Twitter.
Col. Maj. Diarran Kone said an investigation has been opened to ascertain who staged the attack. This is the latest attack to hit the Western African country’s volatile central region. An officer who was sent in to reinforce the area, and requested to remain anonymous, said that a Malian refueling truck that had left the town of Diabaly, in the center of the country, hit the bomb early Monday morning. He added that the militants who were travelling on motorcycles and cars also fired at the soldiers. “There were deaths on our part and on the part of the assailants,” the officer said. “The reinforcements came in time and recovered our (dead) bodies,” the officer added saying that he was not aware of the total number of the victims.
Hiding homemade bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices, under well-travelled roads is a frequent means of attack used by armed groups in the region. This method has killed and maimed scores of victims in Mali each year. The UN said in October, that 110 civilians in Mali had died in roadside bomb attacks during the first six months of 2019. More than 140 Malian soldiers have reportedly died in attacks between September and December. Mali has been struggling to contain an armed uprising that erupted in the north in 2012 and that has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since then.
In November 2019, 14 French soldiers were killed when two helicopters collided in northern Mali. The Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the two helicopters collided as one was retreating while under fire from the group. In November last year, 50 Malian soldiers were also killed during an attack in a military post in northeast Mali.
Islamic Extremists took over Mali’s north in 2012. France, Mali’s former colonial ruler, led a 2013 military operation that ousted the extremists from their urban strongholds in the northern Mali. Since then, the rebels roam through the open, desert areas of northern Mali, from where they launch attacks. Mali’s military has failed to stop the violence. Despite having 4,500 French troops in the Sahel region, and a 13,000 strong United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, the conflict has engulfed the central of the region and has even spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.