Four Malian soldiers were killed Friday in central Mali by a mine, returning from an operation against a suspected jihadist base, AFP learned from Malian and foreign military sources.
“After a successful military operation against the main jihadist base in Dialloubé, where a dozen terrorists were neutralized, an army vehicle jumped on a mine, and four soldiers were killed,” said a spokesman. source at the Ministry of Defense.
According to another source in the Malian army, during this operation, “narcotics were discovered, and weapons and ammunition seized”.
A foreign military source confirmed the death of four Malian soldiers by the explosion of a mine, which also seriously injured two other soldiers.
“The Malian army has carried out in the last 48 hours a large-scale military operation against positions occupied by terrorists in the center, but unfortunately, on the return of this mission, an army vehicle jumped on a mine”, said this source.
Mali’s Prime Minister Soumyelou Boubeye Maïga, who returned from a visit to central Mali this week, said that the military operations started were producing results and that “the State is increasingly present” in this area. region.
Jihadist groups have been particularly active in recent months in the center of the country.
In his latest quarterly report on Mali, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the situation in the north and center is “extremely worrying”, especially in the regions of Mopti and Ségou, where there is had more terrorist or terrorist-related acts than in all five northern regions. ”
Northern Mali had fallen in March-April 2012 under the guise of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda. These groups were largely driven off by an international military intervention, launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France, which continues.
But entire areas of the country are still beyond the control of the Malian and foreign forces, regularly targeted attacks, despite the signing in May-June 2015 of a peace agreement, supposedly isolate the jihadists, but the application accumulates the delays.
Since 2015, these attacks have spread to central and southern Mali and the phenomenon is spreading to neighboring countries, particularly Burkina Faso and Niger.