Mali: eight soldiers killed and nearly 60 “terrorists neutralized” in the north, after the death of about forty civilians in the region

Eight Malian soldiers were killed and nearly 60 “terrorists neutralized” in northern Mali, during an operation by the Malian air force, the army announced on Friday 18 February.

The Malian air force intervened on Friday to destroy a “terrorist base” near Burkina Faso and Niger, where “heavy fighting then left 8 dead” among the soldiers and “57 terrorists neutralized”according to an army statement.

The Malian air force operation targeted an area where several dozen civilians died recently.

Forty victims in one week

About 40 Malian civilians were killed this week by a group affiliated with the Islamic State organization in a region of northern Mali, AFP learned from various local sources. “There are at least forty civilian deaths, in three different sites” around Tessit, a few dozen kilometers from the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, a civilian official in this sector told AFP. “These are civilians who have been accused by one group of complicity with the other group” jihadist, he said. Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, spokesman for a group of armed formations in the north, the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), reported a similar human toll.

The events occurred in the so-called three-border zone. The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) and the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an alliance of armed groups belonging to the Al-Qaeda nebula, are particularly active there. In addition to attacking national or foreign armies, they engage in a territorial war.

These incursions by EIGS and GSIM in Tessit prompted residents to flee to surrounding towns, as well as to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso, noted the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). On Friday evening, it counted 1,200 displaced people in several towns in the area, including 350 women and 620 children.

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