Twenty-five die in Mali attacks

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Suspected Islamist militants killed 25 people including 13 soldiers in multiple attacks in central Mali, burning down an army base and ambushing reinforcement troops, the army and local authorities said.

The attacks were the deadliest since the August 18 military coup that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and came days after jailed militants were freed by the interim government in a prisoner swap.

Nine soldiers were killed in the first attack against a base in Sokoura near the border with Burkina Faso, an army statement said.

On Tuesday, three more soldiers were killed in an ambush at a bridge near the base as their unit headed to the first attack, it said.

Nine militants died in clashes with the reinforcement unit and two vehicles were destroyed by the air force.

In a third assault about 40 minutes later near Bandiagara, gunmen ambushed a commercial truck, killing 12 traders and a soldier, according to Moulaye Guindo, mayor of nearby Bankass, where the traders were headed.

A witness saw nine bodies at the military base and helped transport 20 wounded to local medical centres.

“They (jihadists) took the vehicles and burned those they could not take. The camp is burned,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.