'Terrorists' kill deputy mayor in Mali: Security source

AFP , Monday 11 Jul 2016

A local official in central Mali was killed on Monday in an attack that left his body "riddled" with bullets, security sources and an eyewitness told AFP.

Deputy mayor of the Wouro-Mody commune Kola H. Dia became the latest victim of Islamist militant and criminal groups which take advantage of Mali's dire security situation by frequently targeting symbols of state power including government officials and soldiers.

A Malian security source told AFP under condition of anonymity that "terrorists slaughtered the deputy mayor of the commune" on Monday morning.

He said it was a "targeted attack."

A resident of Wouro-Mody who saw Dia's body said the gunmen left him "riddled" with bullets before making off with his mobile phone.

Dia was killed in the same area of the Mopti region where five Togolese UN peacekeepers were fatally ambushed on May 29. There was no claim of responsibility but the UN at the time called it a "terrorist" attack.

Northern Mali has seen repeated violence since it fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels who allied with Islamist militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012.

Attacks are now becoming more frequent further south, in the country's centre, close to its borders with Burkina Faso and Niger.

Although Islamists were largely ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013, sporadic attacks from desert hideouts are common.

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