Two soldiers killed in central Mali militant attack
April 02 2021 05:52 PM


Two soldiers died in a militant attack in central Mali on Friday, several sources said, with UN peacekeepers fighting off gunmen in a separate incident towards the Algeria border.
A Mali army officer told AFP a "terrorist attack" against a military post in Diafarabe, a town 350 kilometres northeast of the capital Bamako, "left two of our ranks dead and six wounded".
"We are in control of the situation," the officer said, adding that five "terrorists" had been killed in the fighting.
A witness who gave his name as Youssouf Aya said he saw armed men on motorbikes heading towards the military post and then he heard gunshots.
He saw the bodies of two soldiers and said several others were wounded, before seeing the assailants leave the post.
An official in the nearby town of Mopti confirmed the attack, which took place at around 0600 GMT.
Mali has been battling a militant insurgency for almost a decade, fighters first emerging during a 2012 rebellion by ethnic Tuareg separatists in the north.
France intervened to crush the rebellion, but the militants scattered and regrouped, taking their campaign into central Mali in 2015 and then into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.
Illustrating the huge challenges Mali still faces, officials also reported an attack on a post manned by Chadian peacekeepers in Aguelhok, hundreds of kilometres further northeast of Diafarabe.
"In the camp, there were at least two vehicles hit or burnt, but the attack was repelled," an official in the town, 200 kilometres from the Algerian border, told AFP.
"We saw the Chadian soldiers go out to pursue the militants."
An international military source confirmed the attack on the peacekeepers, telling AFP: "The terrorists have been chased down, the situation is under control."

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