Al Qaeda Affiliate Claims Attack on Mali’s Main Military Base

DAKAR (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Mali claimed accountability on Saturday for an assault on the nation’s predominant army base, which it mentioned was a response to governmental collaboration with Russian mercenaries.

Friday’s raid on the Kati base 15 km (10 miles) exterior the capital Bamako killed at the least one soldier and represented the primary time in Mali’s decade-long insurgency that Islamist militants have hit a army camp so near Bamako.

The raid, carried out utilizing two automotive bombs, additionally wounded six individuals, whereas seven assailants had been killed and eight arrested, Mali’s army mentioned.

The media unit for al Qaeda’s native affiliate, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), mentioned in an announcement its Katiba Macina department had carried out the assault, based on a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which displays jihadist statements.

The Malian army had blamed Katiba Macina for the assault in an announcement on Friday.

The JNIM assertion mentioned a Malian fighter had detonated a automotive bomb on the base’s gate and a fighter from Burkina Faso detonated one other inside the bottom, permitting further fighters to enter the camp.

It justified the assault by citing the presence in Mali of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group, which started supplying a whole bunch of fighters final yr to assist the Malian army and has since been accused by human rights teams and native residents of taking part in massacres of civilians.

“We say to the Bamako government: if you have the right to hire mercenaries to kill the defenceless innocent people, then we have the right to destroy you and target you,” it mentioned.

The Russian authorities has acknowledged Wagner personnel are in Mali however the Malian authorities has described them as instructors from the Russian army reasonably then non-public safety contractors. Wagner has no public illustration and has not commented on the accusations of human rights violations.

In a separate assertion on Saturday, JNIM additionally claimed accountability for assaults in 5 central and southern Mali cities on Thursday, which the Malian army mentioned had killed one soldier and wounded 15.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Modifying by David Holmes)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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