At least 29 soldiers were killed in a suspected terrorist attack by suspected Islamist militants on an army camp in northeastern Mali on Thursday, reported Reuters.
No militant group has yet taken responsibility for the attack in the town of Tarkint, which is located about 125 km (78 miles) north of the city of Gao.
The army said earlier in the day that just two soldiers had died and five wounded but tweeted later that the death toll had increased to 29. This is the biggest attack on Mali’s army this year.
Vast swathes of central and northern Mali are used by the jihadists as a base for attacks in Mali and into neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso. The security condition in the troubled areas has deteriorated markedly over the past year.
There have been repeated attacks on Mali’s army in recent times. The army has repeatedly suffered heavy casualties from armed groups active in the area with links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
In February, three Malian soldiers were killed and five injured in a terrorist attack on an army camp in Bambara Maoude, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Timbuktu city.
A localized revolt that started in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to the centre of the country and even to two other neighboring countries- Niger and Burkina Faso- where security has swiftly deteriorated over the past year amid a “fireball of conflict” involving multiple armed groups, military campaigns by national armies and international partners as well as local militias.
Although France has deployed thousands of its troops across the Sahel region, the French officials have acknowledged that they have failed to put a control on the violence.
More than 4,000 people were put to death in the three countries last year, a fivefold increase compared with 2016, according to the United Nations figures.