Gunmen attack Mali army base, kill at least 16 soldiers
- 18 March 2019
Gunmen attacked and briefly seized a Malian army base overnight, killing at least 16 soldiers and destroying five vehicles in central Mali’s Mopti region, officials said on Sunday, ONAreports quoting Reuters.
The base is in the village of Dioura, Youssouf Coulibaly, mayor of the nearest town, Kareri, told Reuters by telephone from inside the base that he visited on Sunday morning after the attack. Central Mali has in the past few years been overrun by jihadists with links to al Qaeda.
“The toll was heavy, catastrophic,” a spokesman for Defence Minister Tiemoko Sangare said, adding the minister would head to the area soon to assess what happened.
Violence by jihadist groups has worsened almost every year since it first exploded in Mali in 2012, when Islamists and allied Tuareg rebels took over the north and advanced towards the capital, Bamako. A French-led intervention pushed them back the following year.
“All our thoughts are with the brave soldiers of the Malian Army who fell this day in Dioura protecting people against a cowardly enemy,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in a statement his office posted on Twitter.