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French Soldiers Ambushed by 'Terrorists' in Mali: Military Sources

A Malian military source confirmed the incident, which came two days after a deadly attack on the headquarters of a five-nation African force in Mali.


Updated:July 1, 2018, 7:21 PM IST
French Soldiers Ambushed by 'Terrorists' in Mali: Military Sources
Representational image of the French Military. (Reuters)

Bamako (Mali): French soldiers operating in troubled northern Mali came under attack on Sunday, according to Western and Malian military sources, but there was no immediate information about possible casualties.

"French soldiers of the Barkhane military operation were ambushed by terrorists" near the town of Bourem, a Western military source told AFP, referring to the French mission in the country.

A Malian military source confirmed the incident, which came two days after a deadly attack on the headquarters of a five-nation African force in Mali.

The upsurge in violence comes as the country is preparing to go to polls on July 29.

Fatouma Wangara, a resident of Gao, said a French convoy was targeted by a suicide car bomb. "An armoured vehicle blocked the way and the car blew up," she said.

Another resident told AFP that the area around the ambush had been sealed off by French soldiers.

The attack came as over 40 African heads of state are meeting for an African Union summit in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott with security high on the agenda.

On Friday, a suicide attack on the Mali headquarters of a regional Sahel force known as G5 killed two soldiers and a civilian.

Mali's unrest stems from a 2012 ethnic Tuareg separatist uprising which was exploited by jihadists in order to take over key cities in the north.

The extremists were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

France still has 4,000 troops deployed alongside the UN's 12,000-strong MINUSMA peacekeeping operation and the regional G5 Sahel force, aimed a rooting out jihadists.

But large stretches of the country remain out of the control of Malian, French and UN forces, which are frequent targets of attacks, despite a peace accord signed with Tuareg leaders in mid-2015 aimed at isolating the jihadists.

The violence has also spilled over into both Burkina Faso and Niger.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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