Two military posts were attacked early Monday, September 30, the Malian Armed Forces tweeted. Minister of Communication Yaya Sangare later said in a statement that a FAMa camp at Boulkessi and a military post at Mondoro had been the “subject of a violent jihadist attack. No precise casualty toll was available, Sangare said, but the government deplored the “heavy loss of equipment and significant damage. “A large-scale air operation was carried out in the area, to neutralize the attackers and regain effective control of our positions,” Sangare added.
“Armed jihadists came at night to Mondoro. The army withdrew. The jihadists” fire killed two civilians and wounded three,” a local official said. “The assailants made off with two vans filled with ammunition, two camels and 12 cows,” the official added.
They came on “several vehicles loaded with heavy arms and on motorbikes,” the statement said, without giving any casualty figures. A military source told AFP the attackers burnt 22 vehicles, nearly half of the automatic weapons in the camp and a large cache of ammunition. On March 1, nine Malian soldiers attached to the G5 Sahel Joint Force were killed in Boulkessi when a vehicle in which they were traveling was struck by a roadside bomb. A 2018 investigation by the U.N. mission in Mali concluded that Malian soldiers attached to the G5 Sahel Joint Force executed 12 civilians at a market in Boulkessi in May 2018.
Many armed groups are active in Mali and the wider Sahel region, including Ansar ul Islam, which emerged near the Burkina Faso-Mali border in December 2016. The Serval mission evolved in August 2014 into Operation Barkhane, which has a mandate for counter-terrorism operations across the Sahel. Roughly 4,500 French troops are deployed in the region, including around 2,700 soldiers in Mali. Personnel from Estonia and helicopters from the United Kingdom support the Barkhane force, and Denmark has announced plans send two helicopters and up to 70 troops.
Barkhane focuses activity in insurgent-hit Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, and troops work alongside other international operations, including the roughly 14,000-strong MINUSMA United Nations stabilization mission in Mali, and the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the long-planned 4,500-strong joint counter-terrorism force comprising troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. France spearheaded the G5 Sahel initiative, but it has been undermined by lack of training, poor equipment and a shortage of funds.
Lire aussi : Attaque de Boulikessi