Monday , June 17 2024

Insurgents Attack Military Camp in Northern Mali, Kill Five Soldiers

Five soldiers were killed and 11 others were reported missing in an attack on two military installations in northern Mali that was carried out by armed rebel groups, the army announced late Monday.

The army announced via social media that it had also lost a jet in the conflict in the northern Mali town of Lere, which is located in the Timbuktu area.

Around 30 assailants were “neutralised” in the attack on Sunday, which the army said was carried out by “terrorists”.

The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), an alliance of armed groups dominated by Tuaregs who took up arms in 2012 seeking autonomy or independence, claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday.

In addition, it claimed to have downed an army plane and taken over two military camps in Lere.

It was the most recent assault against army outposts in northern Mali, where armed groups and separatists have recently increased their activity. In Bourem, which is positioned between the historic cities of Gao and Timbuktu, CAM captured a military base earlier last month.

The 2012 rebel uprising prepared the way for armed organisations with ties to al-Qaeda to take control of the majority of the north, leading to a French military involvement that sparked a war that has claimed thousands of lives in the Sahel.

The renewed military activity by the Tuareg-dominated separatists coincides with the ongoing withdrawal of the UN stabilisation mission MINUSMA, which is being pushed out by the military government after 10 years of deployment.

The peacekeepers have been handing over their camps to Malian authorities, but the separatists believe they should be returned to their control.

Mali’s government – which seized power after double coups in 2020 and 2021 – pushed out France’s counterinsurgency force in 2022 and the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA this year. MINUSMA transferred its Lere camp to the Malian army several years ago, long before being forced to leave the country.

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