Mali’s army strikes back at jihadists in the north
Mali’s military junta has launched air strikes and an airborne operation against “terrorist groups” in the north of the country, where jihadists have been imposing a blockade on Timbuktu since late August.
A preventive attack
The army said on X, formerly Twitter, that it carried out “preventive FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) air strikes followed by an airborne operation” on Wednesday. The target was “armed terrorist groups, including a wanted terrorist leader”, who had been threatening the civilian population 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Timbuktu.
A tense situation
Timbuktu, a historic city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been under siege by jihadists for more than a month, according to local officials. The militants have blocked the access roads and cut off the supply of food and fuel. The residents have been living in fear and hardship, with limited access to water and electricity.
(Read Also: Mali under siege by terrorists, 64 dead)
A fragile peace
Mali has been struggling with a jihadist insurgency since 2012, when Islamist militants took over the north of the country with the help of Tuareg rebels. A French-led military intervention in 2013 pushed them back, but they have regrouped and expanded their attacks to neighbouring countries.
A peace deal signed in 2015 between the government and some rebel groups has failed to end the violence.
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