In order not to miss any African news, subscribe to the newsletter of world africa from this link. Every Saturday at 6am, find a week of news and discussions covered by the editorial team at world africa.
42 Malian soldiers were killed, Sunday, in northeastern Mali, near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger, in the deadliest attack attributed to jihadists against Malian forces since 2019, according to a new report. This new statistic comes from an official document listing the names of the dead soldiers, which was documented on Wednesday, August 10 by several senior military officials at AFP. The previous report indicated that 17 soldiers and 4 civilians were killed.
This is the largest official outcome of the Malian army since a series of attacks at the end of 2019 – early 2020 that were carried out by the Islamic State in the camps in the same area known as the Three Borders.
Sunday’s attack comes as Mali, which has pushed out the old French ally and resumed enthusiastic cooperation with Moscow, has for several weeks been facing an escalation of attacks from the Nebula Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, JNIM in Arabic).
Relatives of the victims, who requested anonymity, told AFP that the four dead included local officials. The statement also claimed that seven “enemies” The attackers were killed in the attack “Possibly from the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) and benefiting from drone and artillery support using explosives and VBIEDs.”.
The Tisset region, located on the financial side of the Three Borders region, in a huge rural area not controlled by the state, is often the scene of clashes and attacks.
Armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, grouped under the command of GSIM, have been fighting there since 2020 the EIGS group affiliated with the Islamic State (IS). The jihadists seek to control this strategic and gold-bearing region.
The Malian army, stationed in a military camp near the town of Tisset, was often attacked in this area. In March 2021, thirty-three relief soldiers from Tessit were killed in an EIGS ambush.
In this area, sometimes called “Mali Gourma”, the blue helmets of the United Nations Mission in Mali also operate.
As for civilians, as elsewhere in Mali, they are caught in the crossfire of these actors in the conflict, accused of being allies with one or the other. In February, about forty of them were killed by the EIGs in Tsit on charges of collusion with al-Qaeda.
The people of the area, regularly cut off from the telephone network for several years and all trapped in the rainy season (July to September), fled by the thousands, mainly to the large neighboring town of Gau, about 150 kilometers away. to the north.
wave of attacks
This area of the three borders was the scene at the end of 2019 – the beginning of 2020 of the deadliest series of attacks known to the three countries involved since the outbreak of conflict in 2012 in northern Mali.
More than a dozen isolated camps where Sahel soldiers were stationed were targets of the EIGs according to a proven modus operandi: the misguided attack of fighters on motorbikes. Hundreds of soldiers were killed. These setbacks prompted the Malian army, as well as the soldiers of Niger and Burkina Faso, to withdraw and regroup in stronger places.
A military explosion was announced in January 2020 during the coastal French summit in Pau (southwest of France). EIGS . has been set “Enemy Number One” And carried out many French and coastal operations on the three borders.
Several leaders of the jihadi group were killed in 2020 and 2021, led by its founder, Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, in August 2021. But, as many residents and experts say, the group did not stop recruiting and operating.
At the end of July, at least 11 coordinated attacks marked by GSIM hit the financial territory. One of them fell into Kati, at the gates of Bamako and at the heart of the military-financial apparatus.