Jan 26, 2020 14:52 UTC
  • Nearly 20 soldiers killed in terrorist attack on Mali army camp

Nearly twenty soldiers have been killed and several others wounded in an attack on an army camp in central Mali before dawn on Sunday, an army spokesman and a local official said.

The assailants entered the camp near the village of Sokolo at about 0500 GMT, opened fire, destroyed some structures and left soon after, said Balco Ba, a deputy administrator in the nearby town of Niono.

The identity of the attackers is not yet known.

Army spokesman Dirran Kone said the camp later became under control, reinforcements were in place and search got underway for the assailants.

The Malian army's official Twitter account said a Malian plane had been deployed to monitor the scene.

Terrorists groups, with links to al-Qaeda and Daesh, operate in arid central and northern Mali and have used the area to launch attacks on soldiers and civilians across neighboring Burkina Faso, Niger and beyond.

Large areas of the Sahel, the band of scrubland south of the Sahara, have fallen out of the control of armies and police forces, vexing local governments and their international partners who have struggled to contain the spread of militant groups across West Africa.

Twenty-four Malian soldiers were killed and some 30 others wounded when militants attacked a patrol in northern Mali in November.