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Mali Military Helicopter Crashes in Capital

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A military helicopter crashed Saturday in a residential neighborhood of Mali's capital, Bamako, after returning from what the Malian army say was an "operational mission."

The crash was confirmed in a statement on the Malian army's official Facebook page. The "attack helicopter" crashed at 1:10 p.m., "in a residential area of Bamako," according to the statement.

Unverified videos circulating on social media show heavy smoke rising from a residential neighborhood, one showing a piece of a military aircraft marked "army."

Military aircraft could be seen flying above Bamako in the hours before the crash.

Mali has been battling an Islamist insurgency since 2012, which has since spread from Mali's north into the center and south of the country.

France intervened in 2013 after northern Mali was taken over by militants but withdrew in 2022 over concerns about Mali's military government working with Russian Wagner Group mercenaries.

Mali has been under military rule since a 2020 coup.

On Thursday, interim President Assimi Goita's chief of staff, Oumar Traore, was killed along with three others in an ambush in Nara, in the southwest of the country.

Saturday morning, a military base in central Mali was attacked by suspected Islamists.

The army has not yet released the number of dead or injured in Saturday's crash.