12 civilians killed in central Mali attack

AFP , Tuesday 13 Oct 2020

Nigerian soldiers patrol at the Mali air force base near Bamako as troops await their deployment January 18, 2013. REUTERS

Twelve civilians were killed in volatile central Mali on Tuesday morning in addition to 12 soldiers who died in a twin attack that began overnight, police and humanitarian officials said.

The group was travelling in a minibus following a military convoy sent to reinforce an army outpost which was attacked in the early hours of Tuesday, when it fell into an ambush, according to a police official.

The civilians were on their way to a weekly market in Bankass, a town in central Mali's Mopti region, when the attack occurred. The police official said that two women and a baby were among the civilian dead.

A humanitarian official working nearby confirmed the account.

Three Malian soldiers were killed in the convoy ambush, the army said, offering a provisional tally. Nine soldiers were killed in the earlier outpost attack.

Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north of the country in 2012, and which has since spread to the centre of the country and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the fighting to date, and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.

In Mali, the centre of the vast country has become the epicentre of the violence, with jihadist attacks and ethnic violence commonplace.

Anger at the brutal conflict contributed to protests against president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita this year, which culminated in his ouster in a military coup on August 18.

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