At least 49 civilians and 15 soldiers have been killed in two attacks by Islamist militants in the West African nation of Mali. According to the Malian military government, the two separate attacks targeted a passenger ship sailing on the Niger River near Timbuktu and an army base in Bamba in the northern Gao region. A jihadist militia that is linked to al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for this.
The Malian government’s statement added that the country’s armed forces killed around 50 attackers. Three days of national mourning in honor of the civilians and soldiers killed are scheduled to begin this Friday.
UN peacekeeping mission remains unfinished
Several radical Islamic groups are active in Mali and maintain ties to Al Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (IS). Despite international efforts to support local troops, the radical Islamic groups were able to spread in the Sahel and in the West African coastal countries.
The deadly attacks come as the United Nations prepares to withdraw its 17,000-strong peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, from Mali at the government’s request. The withdrawal is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
rb/wa (AP, AFP, Reuters)