Attackers hijack convoy carrying materials for military base, killing 31 and wounding 35

(Washington Post) — Armed militants attacked a convoy carrying vital materials for a military base in central Mali on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding 35, local authorities said. The attackers drove…

Attackers hijack convoy carrying materials for military base, killing 31 and wounding 35

(Washington Post) — Armed militants attacked a convoy carrying vital materials for a military base in central Mali on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding 35, local authorities said.

The attackers drove their vehicles into a military convoy in Menaka, about 140 miles northwest of Timbuktu, said Mediene Mbacke, a local official. Menaka is the main town in the Maghreb mountain range and is the capital of central Mali’s Mopti region.

A spokesman for the government, Souleymane Maiga, said the attackers were armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and that the military was still searching for their remaining assailants.

“We don’t know for sure who the assailants are,” said Stephane Maiga, a spokesman for the government in Bamako, the capital.

Dozens of people died in similar attacks in 2017 and 2018, the first in particular targeting military vehicles.

The Islamic State and Al Qaeda have mounted attacks in Mali for years but the groups have largely retreated, limiting their attacks to the far north where the French-backed and -trained Malian armed forces are still weak.

Timbuktu, a town famous for its trade of black sand, has seen a string of attacks from militants in the past year. During a two-week period this year, the city has seen clashes between militants and the Malian army, and has also seen suicide bombings targeting civilians.

In 2017, a suicide bomber also blew himself up outside a mosque in Timbuktu, killing at least 16 people.

According to security agencies, nearly 5,000 people have been killed by militant violence in Mali and neighboring countries in the past 10 years.

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