42 Malian soldiers killed in suspected Islamist attack


Forty-two Malian soldiers have been killed and 22 injured in a sophisticated weekend attack near the town of Tessit on Sunday.

Mali’s government blames Islamic State affiliate and suspected jihadists using drones and artillery.

The assault in the Gao region is one of the deadliest in recent years for Mali’s security forces fighting armed groups in the region.This is the latest violent incident to rock the troubled Sahel country, raising the earlier death toll of 17 soldiers.

A document naming the dead was authenticated to AFP by several senior military officials, while the government later confirmed the toll in a statement that said 22 soldiers were injured and 37 “terrorists” were neutralised.

“The Malian army units of Tessit … reacted vigorously to a complex and coordinated attack by armed terrorist groups, presumably from Islamic State in the Greater Sahara [ISGS], characterised by the use of drones, explosives, car bombs, and artillery,” it said in a statement read on by national broadcaster, ORTM.

The statement said reports of “clandestine, overflight operations, indicates unequivocally that the terrorists have received major support, including outside expertise”.

On Monday, the army had said 17 soldiers and four civilians had died, with nine soldiers missing.

The last time Mali’s armed forces sustained such losses was in a string of attacks in the same region in late 2019 and early 2020.

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