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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Death toll on Islamists attack on Mali soldiers rose to 38

The government of Mali announced that 38 soldiers are now confirmed to have been killed in an attack by jihadists on two military camps on Monday.

The attacks in the towns of Boulkessy and Mondoro, near the border with Burkina Faso, was among the deadliest on Malian security forces this year.

Defence Minister Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele said 33 missing soldiers had been found alive, eight of whom were receiving treatment.

He did not say how many more, if any, were still missing, news agency AFP reports.

The government said its troops killed 15 militants and have since recaptured the targeted areas, but lost a lot of equipment.

Mali is struggling to contain militant fighters linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. Civilian deaths in the country increased four-fold between 2012 and 2018.

The West African country – along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania – is part of an anti-insurgency force supported by France known as the G5 Sahel.

On Monday, the five-nation group blamed “suspected members of Ansarul Islam” for the attack at Boulkessy.

Ansarul Islam, meaning Defenders of Islam, was created in 2016 by the radical and popular preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko. He reportedly fought with Islamist militants in the north of Mali in 2012.

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