Mali observes 3-day mourning after deadly terrorist attack

15th Oct 2020
Mali observes 3-day mourning after deadly terrorist attack

By Felix Tih

(AA): Mali, which is 95% Muslim, on Thursday began a three-day national mourning to pay tributes to the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attack that killed at least 11 soldiers and 12 civilians, according to an official statement.

The announcement was made by the transitional President Bah N’Daw in a statement issued after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

The attack occurred in the towns of Sokoura and Paroukou, Mopti region, Central Mali on Tuesday. The army said an airstrike had been launched killing several terrorists and destroying two vehicles.

The Malian army faced two attacks. First is its camp located in the center of the country, a few dozen kilometers from the border with Burkina Faso. A place considered strategic.

On the spot, the attackers, described as “terrorists” according to official terminology, arrived on foot and in vehicles. An elected official from a neighboring locality spoke of “heavy fire heard”. Nine Malian soldiers were initially killed in the camp. A reinforcement of the regular army was then quickly dispatched to the scene. But he was ambushed near a small bridge, the Parou Bridge, located between the towns of Bandiagara and Bankass.

According to independent sources, the army lost three men on the spot. The attackers also suffered significant losses, with at least nine combatants killed and two of their vehicles destroyed.

On the same road, still between the localities of Bandiagara and Bankass, a bus carrying civilians was ambushed by suspected jihadists. Twelve passengers, including two women and a child, were killed instantly.

The head of state also offered his condolences to the families of the victims and wished speedy recovery to those injured.

The attack is one of the deadliest since the Aug. 18 coup against former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, regularly accused by the opposition of inability to deal with the country’s security problems.

The junta leaders had promised to win the war against terrorism in Mali.

No group has claimed responsibility of the attack so far, but similar attacks are usually claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Despite the presence of French and UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, armed groups are still very active in the West African country.

Since 2012, militants have carried out violent attacks in northern and central Mali, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians.

In 2015, a peace deal was signed between the government and some insurgent groups.

Political and community disputes continue to fuel tensions in northern Mali, thus undermining the implementation of the peace agreement.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Malian people stage a protest against France at the Independence Square during the 60th anniversary of Mali gaining independence from France in Bamako, Mali on September 22, 2020. Photographer: Stringer/AA]

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