IS claims responsibility for deadly Mali attacks
Friday’s attack was one of the deadliest in recent years against Mali’s army. "Following an attack on a FAMA (the Malian armed forces) position in Indelimane, reinforcements have found 54 bodies, one of which was a civilian," the country's communication minister Yaya Sangare said on Twitter.
Read more: Turkey says 'not Daesh hotel', vows to send back foreign Islamic State fighters
The group released a statement saying that the "soldiers of the caliphate attacked a military base where elements of the apostate Malian army were stationed in the village of Indelimane."
Shortly after, they claimed responsibility for detonating “an explosive device on a French army convey in the Idelimane area” that killed one French soldier on Saturday, later identified as Corporal Ronan Pointeau.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Pointeau's "sacrifice" and said his thoughts were with the soldier's colleagues and "his Sahelian brothers in arms, who are paying a heavy price in the fight against terrorism."
The attack comes after the United States dealt a huge blow to the Islamic State group last week when a raid on a compound in Syria ended with the death of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the groups leader. Experts have warned not to underestimate the group however, as it remains dangerous and could re-emerge as a capable fighting force.
The Sahel region is the scene of repeated clashes between jihadists and local forces backed by troops from Western countries.
The UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali has been called the most dangerous in the world, with the country unable to cope with Islamist militants, armed separatists, and human traffickers. The UN has been operating alongside French forces and the Malian army for the last six years. More than 200,000 people have been displaced and 600 have been killed since the start of 2019.
|[click to enlarge]|