Mali: Four killed, three wounded in ambush amidst soaring violence

Mali: Four killed, three wounded in ambush amidst soaring violence

Four Malian gendarmes were killed and three wounded on Sunday (15 January) in an ambush in the west of the Sahelian country, as diplomats, analysts and human rights groups say indiscriminate violence against civilians has grown since the arrival of the Wagner Group mercenaries more than a year ago.

Two gendarmerie vehicles were reportedly burned, two others captured by the assailants during this operation carried out in Kouala, during which two assailants were killed and others taken prisoner. It’s not yet clear to whom the attack was attributed. The gendarmes, like the army, the foreign forces and all that represent the State are the targets of the jihadist groups.

Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga declared during the past week that there was no longer any part of the territory where the army could no longer go, while the authorities previously acknowledged that two-thirds of the territory was beyond the control of the army. This security finding is, however, contradicted by experts and by a recent UN report, according to which security conditions have continued to deteriorate in the central Sahel and particularly in Burkina Faso and Mali.

In fact, since hundreds of mercenaries working for the shadowy Russian military contractor began working alongside Mali’s armed forces to try to stem a decade-long insurgency by Islamic extremists in the West African country, the insurgents linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have only grown stronger, according to diplomats, analysts and human rights groups. With more than 2,000 civilians having been killed since December 2021, compared with about 500 in the previous 12 months, there’s concern the Russian presence will further destabilize the already-troubled region, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a nongovernmental organization.

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