Dozens of soldiers were killed in attacks on northern Mali’s army base

At least 31 soldiers were killed in an attack in northern Mali this week, an army officer said on Wednesday in one of the deadliest abuses of the military this year.

Dozens of attackers on motorcycles and pickups on Monday stormed a military post southwest of the city of Ansongo, near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger, the army said on social media.

An initial statement said two soldiers had been killed and eight wounded, but late Tuesday the army gave the higher numbers, with 11 dead and 14 wounded with 11 still missing.

But on Wednesday, an officer in Malia’s army, who refused to be named, said the death toll had risen further to 31.

He added that the bodies of 13 attackers were found after the collision.

It is still unclear how many soldiers are still missing.

Mali was thrown into conflict in 2012 when local Tuareg radicals backed by jihadists revolted in the north.

France intervened to crush the insurgency, but the jihadists spread and regrouped and took their campaign to central Mali in 2015 and then to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

In Mali alone, thousands of civilians and troops have died and hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes.

The so-called three-border zone was the scene of a military offensive from the beginning of last year by the French Barkhane force and its regional allies, especially against the jihadist Islamic State in the Great Sahara Group (EIGS).

Militants often target Mali’s army – which is largely poorly equipped and underfunded – in attacks.

(AFP)