Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for two attacks that killed at least two firefighters and three civilians on Monday January 2 near Bamako, in a statement authenticated by the American NGO SITE, which specializes in monitoring radical groups, consulted on Wednesday by AFP.
The jihadists of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, JNIM in Arabic), affiliated with Al-Qaida, mention in their press release “two simultaneous attacks against a fire station and an environmental and forest protection unit both located near the Malian capital”.
The attacks targeted the localities of Markacoungo and Kassela, both on the Bamako-Ségou axis, in southeastern Mali, an area where they are relatively rare. Al-Qaeda does not give an assessment. The Malian Ministry of Security and Civil Protection assured Tuesday that that of Markacoungo had killed two firefighters and three civilians.
Mali, a Sahelian country, has been fighting a jihadist insurgency for a decade that has spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso. The junta in power since 2020 has brought in Russians whom it presents as military instructors who have come to help fight the jihadists. Westerners describe said military instructors as mercenaries of the paramilitary group Wagner, close to the Kremlin.
As violence rages in the center, north and east of the country, the question of the future of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali arises. In December, Germany became the seventh country to decide to end or suspend its participation in the mission. Last month, two peacekeepers were killed and four wounded when unidentified assailants opened fire on a police patrol in Timbuktu (north).