Home WORLD AFRICA Mali: 17 soldiers and 4 civilians killed in an attack in Tessit

Mali: 17 soldiers and 4 civilians killed in an attack in Tessit

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The balance sheet is always provisional and subject to changeaccording to a statement from the Malian army released on Monday, which says it killed 7 enemies, probably from the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and benefiting from drone and artillery support with the use of explosives and vehicle bombs.

The clandestine and uncoordinated overflight operations recorded by the Malian armed forces (FAMA), yesterday, Sunday and today, confirm the thesis that the terrorists benefited from major support and external expertise.assures the army Monday evening, without giving more details.

The Malian general staff also reports 22 wounded in the army, significant material losses, including three destroyed vehicles and damage to other vehicles, military installations and civilian homes.

Some civilians killed are local elected officials, theAFP relatives of the victims on condition of anonymity. From the side enemyin addition to the seven killed, the army evokes an unknown number of dead and wounded carried away by the attackers.

A previous army toll gave 4 soldiers and 2 civilians killed, as well as 5 dead enemy side.

Al-Qaeda vs Islamic State

The Tessit sector is located on the Malian side of the tri-border area, in a huge rural region not controlled by the state. It is frequently the scene of clashes and attacks.

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Armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, gathered under the leadership of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, JNIM in Arabic), are fighting the Islamic State group in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), affiliated with the organization. IS. The jihadists seek control of this strategic and auriferous zone.

The Malian army, installed in a military camp next to the town of Tessit, has also often been taken to task in this region, especially in Tessit. In this area sometimes called the Malian Gourma are also active blue helmets of the mission of theUN in Mali.

As for civilians, as elsewhere in Mali, they are caught in the crossfire of these actors in the conflict, and accused of being allies with one when they are not with the other. Residents of the area have fled by the thousands, notably to the large neighboring town of Gao, some 150 km to the north.

French soldiers from Operation Barkhane also carried out activities there a few months ago. They are now preparing to leave their last base in Mali, Gao, to redeploy to Niger.

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Russia supplants France

On Sunday, the Barkhane force announced that it had neutralized a cadre and several jihadist fighters in the Telatai region, 200 km northeast of Gao, after having identified them. by cross-checking different sources of information.

A man holds up a sign

A man holds up a sign during a mass protest in Bamako on January 14, 2022.

Photo: afp via getty images / FLORENT VERGNES

In a very degraded security context, the junta has decided to separate from the old French ally present in Mali for nine years, and to relaunch cooperation with Russia.

Mali has been in turmoil since 2012. The jihadist spread, initially confined to the north of the country, has spread to central and southern Mali, as well as to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

At least two jihadist attacks killed 12 civilians on Saturday in the center and 5 police officers on Sunday in the south-west of the country.

At the end of July, at least 11 coordinated attacks hit Malian territory, attributed mainly to jihadists affiliated with Al-Qaeda. One of them took place in Kati, at the gates of Bamako and at the heart of the Malian military apparatus.

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