14 soldiers killed in fighting with Al-Qaeda which claims a “double ambush”

14 soldiers killed in fighting with Al-Qaeda which claims a “double ambush”

Fourteen Malian soldiers were killed and eleven wounded on Tuesday January 10 during clashes with jihadists in the center of the country, according to a new army report on Thursday January 12, an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda with different figures.

The previous assessment communicated by officers of the army and the gendarmerie on condition of anonymity reported the day before at least twelve Malian soldiers killed during these fights which took place between Mopti and Ségou after several attacks carried out against the army with homemade bombs. “Enemy side”the Malian army claims to have neutralized “thirty-one terrorists”in a statement sent to AFP.

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The jihadists of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, JNIM in Arabic), affiliated with Al-Qaeda, for their part claimed a “double ambush targeting Malian soldiers and mercenaries from the Wagner group in the Mopti region”in a press release authenticated by the American NGO SITE, which specializes in monitoring radical groups, consulted by AFP on Thursday.

The first attack was carried out “with a lead” on the road between Tenenkou and Macina during which “an unknown number of Malian soldiers and Wagner mercenaries were killed and wounded”. It was followed by a second assault “with three explosive devices” between Koumara and Macina in which “five Wagner mercenaries and seven Malian soldiers were killed” and dozens of others injured, according to the JNIM organization which “recognizes the death of five martyrs”.

Security conditions are deteriorating

Some countries accuse the junta in power in Mali of using the private paramilitary company Wagner, reputed to be close to the Kremlin, which Bamako denies. Since 2012, Mali has suffered from the spread of the jihadist movement and a deep multidimensional, political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The center of the country is one of the hotbeds of the violence which has spread to neighboring countries, Burkina Faso and Niger, and is spreading towards the south.

Read also: In Mali, Al-Qaeda claims two deadly attacks on Monday near Bamako

The colonels who came to power by a putsch in 2020 and reinforced by a second coup in 2021 turned away from the former French ally and its partners, and turned militarily and politically towards the Russians. The junta launched an operation focused on central Mali at the end of 2021. She claims to have cornered the jihadists on the run and on the defensive across the country.

But in a report by its secretary general presented to the Security Council on Tuesday, the UN writes on the contrary that the security conditions continued to deteriorate between June and December 2022 in the center of the Sahel, “especially in Burkina Faso and Mali”. “In Mali, after the departure of international forces, armed groups advanced in the east of the country, taking control of vast border areas with Niger”says the report.

The World with AFP