10 Mali Soldiers Die in Attack by Former Rebels in North
A deadly attack by armed groups in northern Mali on Tuesday claimed the lives of at least 10 government soldiers, the Malian Armed Forces said.
The attack took place in the city of Bourem in Gao region, where violence has been escalating in recent months and where UN peacekeepers are withdrawing.
Former Rebels Claim Responsibility
The attack was carried out by a coalition of former rebels who call themselves the Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development. The coalition includes groups that signed a peace agreement with the Malian government in 2015, but have since resumed their armed struggle.
The coalition said in a statement that they launched the attack to “liberate” Bourem from the “occupation” of the Malian army and its allies. They said they have seized control of parts of the city, including the military camp, the police station and the administrative buildings.
Malian Army Repels Attack
The Malian army said that it fought back against the attack, which involved “several terrorists” using vehicles and motorcycles rigged with explosives. The army said that it killed 46 of the attackers and wounded several others.
The army also said that it suffered 10 fatalities and 13 injuries among its ranks. It said that it has reinforced its positions in Bourem and is pursuing the remaining attackers.
UN Peacekeepers Withdraw from North
The attack in Bourem came as UN peacekeepers are gradually withdrawing from northern Mali, where they have been deployed since 2013 to help stabilize the country after a coup and a rebellion. The UN mission, known as MINUSMA, has been one of the deadliest peacekeeping operations in history, with more than 250 fatalities.
The UN Security Council decided in June to reduce the number of peacekeepers in Mali by about 2,000 over the next year, citing security and political challenges. The withdrawal will mainly affect Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu regions, where armed groups are still active and where intercommunal violence has increased.
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