Terrorist Attack in Mali Takes 20 More Fatalities

  • This is the most recent attack suffered by the army in recent months, due to the worsening security conditions in Mali
  • Conflicts have claimed thousands of victims and hundreds of thousands of displaced people since 2012.
  • Mali's Prime Minister declared that elections scheduled for the end of March would go forward, in spite of terrorist attacks or the coronavirus.

After being assured by the Prime Minister of Mali that the elections will actually take place on the 29th of this month, the country registered a new jihadist attack on Thursday that killed 20 Malian soldiers following the invasion of a military post in Tarkint, in the north, according to local military and civilian officials.

The 2012 Malian coup d’état began on 21 March that year, when mutinying Malian soldiers, displeased with the management of the Tuareg rebellion, attacked several locations in the capital Bamako, including the presidential palace, state television, and military barracks. The coup was followed by “unanimous” international condemnation, harsh sanctions by Mali’s neighbors, and the swift loss of northern Mali to Tuareg forces, leading Reuters to describe the coup as “a spectacular own-goal.”

The bodies were taken to Bourem, south of Tarkint, where a local political leader, who declined to be named, claimed to have counted at least two dozen victims. No further information was provided by official authorities, according to AFP. This is the most recent attack suffered by the army in recent months, due to the worsening security conditions in Mali. Several operations have been attributed to the jihadists, causing dozens of deaths among the forces of the authority.

Since 2012, the year in which a coup d’état was carried out that would overthrow President Amadou Toumani Touré, the conflicts have claimed thousands of victims and hundreds of thousands of displaced people. In view of the deteriorating security situation, the current President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, recently decided to break with the line officially followed until then and try to enter into dialogue with some jihadists.

A month ago, 19 soldiers were killed and five wounded in an attack attributed to jihadists against a camp in the central region of Ségou. “The provisional balance is 19 dead and five wounded,” Mali Armed Forces reported on Twitter. “The terrorists arrived on motorbikes. They were heavily armed. They entered the camp and took a lot of material,” said a local official, who requested anonymity and confirmed that all soldiers were gendarmes. Sokolo is located in the circle of Niono, in the region of Ségou (center), where jihadist groups operating to al-Qaeda.

Nusrat al-Islam, officially known as Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin’ (JNIM), is a militant jihadist organisation in the Maghreb and West Africa formed by the merger of Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front, Al-Mourabitoun and the Saharan branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. It is the official branch of Al-Qaeda in Mali, after its leaders swore allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Elections Scheduled This Month

The Prime Minister of Mali, Boubou Cissé, announced yesterday that elections in the country are “so far” to go ahead as planned, for the end of March and April. This is despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which currently plagues the world. “For reasons of national survival and state continuity, we have so far decided to keep the elections going,” said Boubou Cissé, at a press conference quoted news source.

Mali has so far not registered any case of infection with the new coronavirus, but has taken several measures, such as the suspension of air links with the affected countries and the closure of schools. The first round of elections is scheduled for March 29 and the second for April 19.

These elections have been postponed several times, in part due to the deep security crisis that Mali has been facing since 2012. They are seen as an important part of the political effort to follow the military action that is underway in the country to combat the shortage of security personnel and attacks by jihadist groups.

Therefore, the Prime Minister said that the elections will be held “whether or not there is a new coronavirus.”

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.

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