The Mali government on Saturday confirmed at least 53 soldiers and a civilian have been killed in an attack on a military post in northeast Mali on Friday, reported Reuters. The attack, one of the deadliest against Malian forces, took place in Indelimane, in the Menaka region close to the border with Niger.
“The dispatched reinforcements found 54 bodies including one civilian, 10 survivors, and found considerable material damage,” government spokesman Yaya Sangare wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday.
Sangare said the situation had been brought under control. He adding the military is conducting a search operation in the area and the process of identifying the bodies is also going on.
According to Sangare, ten survivors were found at the outpost, which suffered “significant” damage. He did not give any other details. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault in Indelimane in the Menaka region.
Mali has been facing violence since 2012 when Islamist militants took over the north of the country. Northern Mali came under the control of al-Qaeda-linked fighters after Mali’s army failed to quash a rebellion. The army has, however, recaptured the territory with the help of France, but insecurity continues in the area. The violence has also spread to other countries in the region as the armed groups have regrouped and widened their hit-and-run raids.
Last month, 38 Malian soldiers were killed in coordinated attacks on two army bases in central Mali, which has slipped from government control despite the presence of the French army and other international forces.
Notably, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, and Mauritania are part of an anti-insurgency force supported by France known as the G5 Sahel. The five-nation group blamed “suspected members of Ansarul Islam” for September’s attack.