Al Qaeda-linked group claims Mali attack


A Malian militant group with links to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two French soldiers last week.

The soldiers were killed after their armoured vehicle was hit by an explosive device near the border with Niger and Burkina Faso, an area increasingly dangerous for international forces seeking to quell Islamic insurgencies in the Sahel region.

In October, militants killed four US troops in Niger, sparking a debate about America’s combat role in the vast and unpoliced scrubland just south of the Sahara.

JNIM, responsible for other attacks in Mali and linked to the kidnapping of at least six western hostages in recent years, claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on two Mauritanian websites, through which it previously communicated.

Islamist militants took over northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013. Since then the threat has crept back and attacks have occurred further and further south, into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso and as far afield as Ivory Coast.