10 civilians, 3 soldiers killed as violence resurges in Mali
Mali witnesses a new wave of bloodshed across its borders.
Ten civilians and three soldiers were killed and 88 militants were "neutralized" in multiple incidents across Mali on Saturday, the government confirmed, in a wave of bloodshed it described as a resurgence of "terrorist incidents".
Early Saturday morning, the government said in a statement that militants attacked the Sevare airport area in the central Mopti region, detonating car bombs, which killed 10 civilians and injured 61 others.
The blasts destroyed some houses in the airport's surrounding area, which is home to a Malian military camp.
#Mopti #Mali🇲🇱- At least nine people killed and over 60 others injured from triple bombing attack involving 3 vehicles strapped with explosives detonated in #Sévaré, regional officials have said (📹@lavoixdemopti) pic.twitter.com/nV055XIYt2— CyclistAnons🚲 (@CyclistAnons) April 22, 2023
"Thanks to the legendary determination of our valiant Armed Forces, operating exclusively with their own resources, the attackers were routed and 28 terrorists were neutralized," the government said.
A local elected official earlier told AFP that Senegalese soldiers from the UN's peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, were involved in the fighting.
MINUSMA's camp covers four hectares (nearly 10 acres) next to the airport and the Malian army camp.
"MINUSMA strongly condemns the 22 April attacks on the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) camp in Sevare and the nearby car bombings that killed and injured civilians... Shots were also fired toward the MINUSMA camp," the mission said in a statement Saturday.
"MINUSMA declares its readiness to provide all necessary support to the Malian authorities to conduct the required investigations," it expressed.
In separate incidents on Saturday, the Malian army "destroyed a terrorist sanctuary in Mourdiah and neutralized some 60 terrorists in Boni," the government confirmed in a statement.
"A supply mission of the Malian Armed Forces was ambushed just 10 kilometres from Mourdiah on the road to Nara," the governorate of Nara said earlier on Saturday.
The area around Nara was also the site of an ambush on an official delegation on Tuesday, which killed the chief of staff of Mali's transitional president and at least two others and was claimed by Al-Qaeda-linked Jama'at Nasr Al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM).
Also on Saturday, an air force helicopter crashed in a residential neighborhood of the capital Bamako, killing three military crew members and injuring six civilians, the government statement said.
It said the crash occurred "following a typical aerial surveillance operation of Bamako."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a military source told AFP earlier on Saturday that the helicopter had been returning from the Mauritanian border where it had intervened against militants.
Saturday's bloodshed took place a day after Mali celebrated the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
"For several days now, there has been a resurgence of perfidious terrorist incidents," the government said in the statement.
"These recent synchronised terrorist incidents are part of the same diabolical plan, with a view to annihilating the will of the Transitional Authorities to pursue the Refoundation and the securing of Mali," it pointed out.
Mali has been battling a security crisis since militant and separatist insurgencies broke out in the north of the country in 2012.
It has since August 2020 been ruled by a military junta, which broke an alliance with the country's former colonizer France and other Western partners.