Armed group kills 17 soldiers at Mali base: Officials
Seventeen soldiers were killed and 35 wounded in central Mali Tuesday in an assault on their base that authorities called a "coordinated terrorist attack".
Bamako: Seventeen soldiers were killed and 35 wounded in central Mali Tuesday in an assault on their base that authorities called a "coordinated terrorist attack".
"The toll has increased: we have lost 17 men and 35 are wounded," Mali`s defence minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said. Authorities had earlier announced that 12 soldiers were killed.
Coulibaly called the assault a "coordinated terrorist attack on our positions," but did not say who was responsible.
The gunmen`s descent on the military camp in Nampala was earlier claimed by a group from the ethnic Peul community, calling themselves the National Alliance for the Protection of Peul Identity and Restoration of Justice (ANSIPRJ).
The group said it had killed eight troops and wounded 11 more, as well as making off with two trucks and five pick-up trucks.
"It was self-defence," Sidy Cisse, a senior ANSIPRJ commander, told AFP, adding three of his men were wounded.
Earlier Al-Akhbar, a Mauritanian news agency, reported that several soldiers had been taken hostage, and the base was set alight.
Senior figures within ANSIPRJ are also members of a Peul association that decried the murder of what it said were several Peuls falsely accused of supporting jihadists active in the area.
A Peul radical, Amadou Koufa, leads the Macina Liberation Front (FLM), a new group that emerged in 2015 and has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, some targeting security forces in central Mali.