A car bomb explosion targeting France’s Barkhane army in the central Malian city of Gossi injured several soldiers on Monday, local sources told FRANCE 24. Witnesses said several helicopters were sent to the area.
According to local sources, the attack took place in the Kaigourou neighborhood of Gossi in central Mali, injuring several soldiers operating under Operation Barkhane in the Sahel.
Witnesses said several military helicopters were seen going to the area after a massive explosion, said Wassim Nasr, FRANCE 24’s expert on jihadist groups.
The attack came days after French forces in Mali captured a senior commander of the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (EIGS).
Dadi Ould Chouaib, also known as Abou Dardar, was arrested on June 11 in the “three border” region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, the site of frequent attacks by jihadist groups, the French army said.
Mali has been in turmoil since a 2012 uprising that prompted mutinous soldiers to overthrow the country’s decade-long president. The power vacuum that emerged eventually led to an Islamist insurgency and a French-led war that ousted the jihadists from power in 2013. In 2015, a peace agreement was signed by three parties: the government, a coalition of groups seeking autonomy in the north of the country. Mali and a pro-government militia.
However, the insurgents quickly regrouped in the desert and began carrying out regular attacks on the Malian army and its allies fighting the uprising. The extremists, affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group, have moved since 2015 from the arid north to the more populous center of Mali, where their presence has fueled hostility and violence between ethnic groups in the area.
In the latest turmoil, Colonel Assimi Goita seized power in August 2020 by overthrowing Mali’s democratically elected president. He eventually agreed to a transitional government headed by a civilian president and prime minister, but on May 24 he ousted those civilian leaders after they announced a cabinet reshuffle.
( Jowharwith AFP and AP)