Death toll attack on Malian soldiers rises to 42, army says

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Forty-two Malian soldiers died over the weekend in an attack by suspected jihadists, the army said in a document citing the fatalities on Wednesday, revising an earlier figure of 21 dead.

The toll is one of the bloodiest in Mali’s decade-long insurgency, which has spread from the north of the country to the center and south and to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The document has been certified to AFP by several senior military officials.

The attack took place on Sunday in the town of Tessit, in the troubled “three borders” region where the borders of the three nations converge.

On Monday, the army said 17 soldiers and four civilians had been killed. Relatives of the victims said, on condition of anonymity, that some civilians had been elected officials.

Monday’s statement also said seven attackers were killed, “probably members of the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) and benefiting from drone and artillery support and the use of explosives and an explosives-laden vehicle.”

Tessit and the nearby military base have been attacked repeatedly.

In March 2021, 33 soldiers were killed in an ISGS ambush while units were rotated.

The uprising that has ravaged the three Sahel countries has claimed thousands of lives and forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

There have also been sporadic cross-border attacks in Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin in the south, fueling fears of a jihadist advance into the Gulf of Guinea.

(AFP)

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