Mali Gunmen Kill 25 Soldiers in Suspected Takfiri Attack
By Staff, Agencies
Twenty-five Malian soldiers were killed and six injured in an apparent jihadist attack on Monday, the government said, in the latest bout of violence to hit the war-torn West African state.
A dozen assailants were also "neutralized", the government said in a statement, during what it called a "terrorist attack" on a military base in the northern town of Bamba.
A local official said the attackers arrived on motorbikes and in cars.
"Investigations are still ongoing on the ground because the death toll must be higher than the 20 deaths announced," the official said.
Mali has been struggling to contain a Takfiri militancy revolt that first broke out in the north in 2012, and has since spread to the center of the country and neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of Malian soldiers and civilians have died, despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops.
It was not immediately clear who carried out Monday's attack.
A resident of Bamba, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said armed men had been riding motorbikes around nearby villages since Sunday, before gathering for the dawn attack.
"We saw 23 bodies on the spot," the Bamba resident said, describing the aftermath of the raid. The resident added that militants had destroyed the camp and stolen equipment.
"No civilian was hurt, this was an operation against the camp," the resident said.
A Malian army official stationed in northern Mali confirmed an attack had taken place in Bamba but said there had been losses on both sides.
He added the army did not have a clear idea of enemy losses as the raiders took their casualties with them when they left.
Another military official told AFP that reinforcements had been dispatched to the area.
The attack in Mali follows another in jihadist-ridden northern Cameroon on Sunday.
Two suicide bombers – suspected to be members of Nigeria's Boko Haram Takfiri group – blew themselves up in a border town in the Central African country and killed eight people.