Mali: five people killed in rare attack near capital Bamako
Armed men Monday (2 January) attacked a civil defense post in a small southwest town in Mali in what was a rare attack near the capital Bamako, killing five people, Mali’s security ministry has said.
The ministry said in a statement Tuesday (3 January) the unidentified armed individuals attacked the defense post in the town of Markacoungo, about 80 kilometers from the capital, killing two members of the civil defense force and three civilians. It said Mali’s security forces were taking all measures to identify and arrest the attackers and called on the public to collaborate with security forces. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Markacoungo lies on the main road northeast of Bamako, an area that rarely sees such attacks.
Violence in Mali’s decade-long conflict with Islamist militants has been mostly in the north and center of the country, though attacks in the south are increasing. Six people were killed in a attack in July last year on a checkpoint 70 kilometers from Bamako followed by an attack one week later on Mali’s main military camp, just 15 kilometers from the capital. Mali has been under military rule since a coup in August 2020. Mali’s military government has denied working with the Wagner Group, a private Russian military company with links to the Kremlin, saying it works only with official Russian instructors. French troops, which were helping fight Islamist militants in northern Mali since 2013, withdrew last year over concerns about Mali’s work with the Wagner Group.