Militants kill at least 15 soldiers, several civilians in Mali

At least 15 soldiers and three civilians were killed in coordinated “terrorist” attacks in Mali, the chronically unstable country’s army said on Wednesday, the latest deadly vio­lence to rock the Sahel state.

In Kalumba, near the Maurita­nian border, “the death toll on the friendly side is 12, including three civilians from a road construc­tion company,” the army said in a statement.

The army death toll in Sokolo, in central Mali, was six with 25 others wounded, five of them seriously.

The army claims to have killed 48 attackers and “neutralised three terrorist pick-up trucks 15 kilome­tres (10 miles) from Sokolo with (an) estimated fifteen fighters and their equipment” destroyed, the statement said.

A third attack, in centrally-locat­ed Mopti, ended without casualties overnight.

Over the weekend, Mali’s army said it had thwarted a new attack on a military camp in the centre of the country, two days after a deadly suicide attack in a strategic garrison town near the capital.

It was the first time since 2012 that such coordinated attacks have taken place so close to the capital.

The Malian army has intensi­fied its anti-jihadist operations in recent months, relying on what it describes as Russian instructors.

Despite a deteriorating security situation, the junta turned its back on France and its internation­al partners, instead leaning on Russia to stem the threat posed by jihadists to Mali, as well as Burkina Faso and Niger. —AFP

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