Bamako – A suspected jihadist attack killed five gendarmes escorting a convoy from a mining company in western Mali on Tuesday, the army said.
It is one of the deadliest attacks the army has suffered in the western area, which until recently has largely been spared the worst of the violence seen in the north and centre of the country during its almost decade-long conflict.
The army said that “a terrorist attack targeted a convoy of a mining company secured by the FAMa (Malian army) between Sebabougou and Kwala around 188km” (115 miles) north of the capital Bamako.
“The toll is five dead, four wounded,” it said in a statement.
A military source told AFP that the victims were gendarmes – police officers who come under the remit of the army.
Two vehicles were also lost, one torched and the other stolen by the attackers, the source said on condition of anonymity.
The assault took place on a road that serves as a major trade route with neighbouring Mauritania and Senegal, near where another attack more than two weeks ago killed two Moroccan truckers and wounded another.
Last week, four Malian soldiers were also killed by an explosion in the centre of the country, according to the army.
Since independence and jihadist rebellions broke out in Mali’s north in 2012, the country has been plunged into a multi-faceted crisis that has left thousands dead despite the intervention of UN, French and African forces.
The violence, intertwined with inter-community bloodshed, has spread from the north to the centre of the country, as well as over the borders into Burkina Faso and Niger.
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