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At least five killed in Mali attack

BAMAKO (AFP) – An attack at a checkpoint in southeast Mali on Saturday killed at least five people, including customs officers and civilians, local and military sources said.

While a military source told AFP a “terrorist attack” had killed seven civilians and customs officers at the Koutiala checkpoint, a local councillor put the death toll at five.

Neither source provided the breakdown of the civilian and customs officers involved.

“The enemies also suffered losses,” the military source said, adding the situation was currently under control.

At the time of the attack, the Malian army was conducting an operation in the Koutiala area, near the border with Burkina Faso. Since 2012, Mali has been rocked by a extremist insurgency led by groups linked to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

The violence began in the north, then later spread to the centre and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Inter-communal and criminal violence is also common.

The country has been run by a military junta since August 2020, when colonels angered at failures to roll back the extremist toppled the country’s elected leader, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

People walk through the weekly market in M’Berra camp in Bassikounou in South East Mauritania, one the largest camps in West Africa hosting refugees, fleeing multifaceted violences in Mali. PHOTO: AFP