Mali army base attacked

260

Gunmen attacked a Malian army base in a dawn raid killing 11 soldiers and burning the camp in western central Mali, the army and a local lawmaker said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Central Mali has in the past few years been overrun by jihadists with links to al Qaeda.

The unidentified armed assailants attacked the base in Guire district after approaching in an 11 vehicle convoy, local lawmaker Niame Keita said.

“They burnt the camp and took equipment,” he said.

In a statement, the defence ministry confirmed the attack and said 11 soldiers were killed and more were wounded. Keita earlier said 12 were reported killed.

In March, an al Qaeda affiliate said it was behind a similar overnight attack on an army base in Mopti region in which 16 soldiers were killed.

Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso have been hit by a spike in hostilities fuelled by Islamist militants seeking to extend influence inthe Sahel, an arid region between Africa’s northern Sahara desert and its southern savannas.