Mali has been struck by a terrorist attack that killed civilians and officers in the county’s southeast, with at least five people killed.
An attack at a military checkpoint in the southeastern Sikasso region of Mali claimed the lives of at least five people, including civilians and customs officers, local and military sources reported early Sunday.
According to a military source that talked to AFP, the terrorist attack killed seven civilians and customs officers at the Koutiala checkpoint. However, a local councilor put the death toll at five.
No sources have detailed the number of civilians and officers killed by the attack, with the figures remaining vague so far.
“The enemies also suffered losses,” the military source added, noting that the situation was currently under control.
When the attack took place, the Malian army was conducting an operation in the Koutiala area located near the borders with Burkina Faso.
Mali has been in the eye of the storm of a terrorist insurgency in Western Africa with links to Al-Qaeda and ISIS for a decade now. The violence started in the north of the country and later spread to the neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.
Bamako has not only been battling against terrorists, but it has been combating France’s aspirations to undermine its sovereignty by spreading its troops in the country and throughout the Sahel region, under the guise of what it called a counter-terrorist operation.
Pushed by the worsening security and the French’s intervention in their former colony, the Malian army perpetrated a coup in August 2020, angered at the failures of leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keita against the terrorist groups.
The army has promised to hand back the control to civilians after ridding the country of the threats it is facing, setting up a transitional council.
France’s so-called counterterrorism operation ended in February following the deterioration of France’s ties with its former colony.
The Malian armed forces entered in late April a former French military base in the town of Gossi and reportedly discovered a mass grave, which is said to be the site of a massacre that killed 203. The French authorities have denied any involvement in the burials and insisted they were staged by the Russians, which is a claim heavily disputed by the locals and Moscow alike.