Several soldiers killed in central Mali attack
A military official has said nine soldiers have been killed near the central Malian town of Bandiagara. The death toll had previously been stated as eight after the attack on a gendarmerie post Thursday night. Nine more Malian soldiers were also injured, five of them seriously after a long exchange of fire with a large number of fighters.
Mali has seen a separatist movement in the north devolve into multiple armed groups competing for control of the country’s central and northern regions. Groups have been exploiting the poverty of marginalized communities and increasing tensions between ethnic groups. The instability has spread into the Sahel, Burkina Faso and Niger. 4,000 people were killed last year throughout the three countries. The attacks typically involve roadside bombs or hit-and-run raids, and a string of attacks have been seen this year in the region. The deteriorating security has created a humanitarian crisis across the Sahel.