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42 Malian soldiers killed in suspected jihad attack

Forty-two Malian soldiers were killed in a sophisticated weekend attack by jihadists using drones and artillery, officials said Wednesday.

This toll was one of his bloodiest in his decade-long uprising in Mali, with rebels moving from the north to the center, south, and into neighboring Burkina Faso. and extends to Niger.

Documents naming the dead were authenticated to AFP by several senior military officials, but the government subsequently announced that 22 soldiers had been wounded and 37 "terrorists" had been neutralized. A statement confirmed the victim.

The attack took place on Sunday in the town of He Tessit, in the troubled He Three Borderlands where the borders of three countries meet.

On Monday, the military announced that 17 of his soldiers and 4 of his civilians had died. Relatives of the victims, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said some civilians were elected officials.

A statement Monday accused the Islamic State of Greater Sahara (ISGS), whose members "[used] drones and artillery support, explosives and explosive-laden vehicles." said.

Prior attacks

The last time Mali's armed forces suffered such losses was in late 2019 and early 2020 in the same region. It was a series of attacks that took place. Often carried out by highly maneuverable fighters on motorcycles.

The raids forced Mali, Niger and Burkinabe forces to retreat from their forward bases and squat in more protected positions.

In January 2020, France and its Sahelian allies agreed to oppose her ISGS at a summit in Pau, southwestern France.

Although several of its leaders were targeted and killed, including founder Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, locals said the group continued to recruit and operate. says he is going.

Tesit is he one of the hot spots in the Three Borders region.

The ISGS is fighting the Group of Support for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an al-Qaeda-linked ally, for control of strategic, gold-rich areas.

In March 2021, 33 of his soldiers were killed in an ambush alleged by ISGS, and in February of this year, about 40 people suspected of being allied with al-Qaeda by ISGS. civilians were killed. was massacred.

Mobile phone connections to the area have been cut off frequently in recent years, making physical access difficult, especially during the rainy season in mid-year.

Thousands fled Tesit to the nearest large town, Gao, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north.

Across the Sahel, jihad operations have claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than two million from their homes.

Sporadic cross-border attacks have also occurred in Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Benin in the south, increasing fears of jihadist incursions into the Gulf of Guinea.