Security and health officials in Mali say 16 soldiers have died in an attack in the center of the country. An Islamist insurgency in Mali has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since 2012.
As many as 16 soldiers have been killed and 10 others injured in an attack in central Mali involving an improvised explosive device (IED), health and security sources said on Wednesday.
The attack, near the village of Bodio in the Mopti region, comes as the Sahel country continues efforts to suppress a nine-year Islamist insurgency. The rebellion has cost the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians since it broke out in the country’s north in 2012.
Mali’s army had earlier said five soldiers had been killed and eight wounded, but local officials raised it, saying dozens of jihadis had also been killed.
In its statement, the army said soldiers had fought off a “complex IED attack.”
Central Mali has become a main arena for violence amid the insurgency, which has raged on despite the presence of French and UN troops. The rebellion has also spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, with the triborder area between these countries, known as the Liptako Gourma region, the focal point of the fighting.
Jihadi groups commonly use roadside bombs known as IEDs in their attacks. One such blast killed four Malian soldiers, also in central Mali, on September 2, while five soldiers died there in an ambush on September 12.