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Simultaneous Militant Attacks Kill 14 Malian Soldiers


FILE - Malian army soldiers patrol an area next to the river of Djenne in central Mali, Feb. 28, 2020.

Mali’s army says 14 troops were killed and 11 wounded Tuesday in central Mali when their vehicles struck explosives planted by Islamist militants.

In a press release Wednesday, the army said there were two explosives that detonated simultaneously.

The attacks were in central Mali, a region that has seen increasing violence in recent years from Islamist militants.

The army statement says Mali’s airborne special forces engaged what it called “terrorists,” killing 31 of them, including 14 as they were burying their dead.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks.

Mali has been battling an Islamist insurgency since 2012. It started in the north of the country before spreading.

The militants took control of northern Mali in 2012, until the French army intervened in 2013 to drive them out.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced last year that French troops would withdraw from Mali after months of tensions between Paris and Bamako.

France deplored Mali’s military government’s working with Russian Wagner mercenaries, who have been accused of committing atrocities in the Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, Syria, and Ukraine.

Mali’s military government denies working with mercenaries and says there are only official Russian military instructors in the country.

Mali has been under military rule since an August 2020 coup that ousted former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Violence has continued to move south ever since, with ongoing attacks in central Mali and increasing attacks in southern Mali.

Militants on January 2 attacked a civil defense post about 80 kilometers from the capital, killing five people.

In July, militants killed six people in an attack on a checkpoint 70 kilometers from Bamako followed by another attack one week later on Mali’s main military camp, just 15 kilometers from the capital.

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