Over 50 Malian soldiers killed in militant attack

Malian special forces soldiers tactically clear rooms near base camp Loumbila, in Burkina Faso on Feb. 25, 2019. The close quarters battle training events are part of Flintlock 2019 exercise scenarios. (U.S Army photo by Spc. Peter Seidler)

At least 53 soldiers and one civilian were killed in a militant attack on a military post in northern Mali, the government said.

The attack is one of the deadliest strikes against the West African country’s military in recent memory.

It is still reeling from jihadist raids in late September that underscored the increasing reach and sophistication of armed groups operating in the region.

“The dispatched reinforcements found 54 bodies including one civilian, 10 survivors, and found considerable material damage. The situation is under control,” government spokesman Yaya Sangare said on Twitter.

The authorities first reported the attack by armed men on the army post in Indelimane, Menaka region, but gave a lower provisional death toll.

From their stronghold in Mali, groups with al Qaeda and other militants links have been able to fan out across the Sahel, destabilising parts of Niger and Burkina Faso.

Thirty-eight Malian soldiers were killed on 30th September in coordinated attacks on two army bases in central Mali, which has slipped from government control despite the presence of the French army and other international forces.

Hauwa Mustapha