64 were pronounced dead in northern Mali following terror attack, the Malian government said, Africa News and agencies reports, September 8.
The 64 who died (49 civilians and 15 soldiers), were killed in a terrorist attack on September 7. The terrorists targeted a river transport boat as well as an army base, in the town of Bamba (located in the country’s northern region of Gao), where armed groups have been present.
Following the chaotic scenes, the country will go into a three-day mourning period.
Armed groups in junta-led Mali have been fighting the Malian government over the past few weeks as the country continues to experience uncertainty.
The attacked river boat belonged to Malian shipping company, Comanav. The shipping company told the AFP that the boat was struck by three rockets, which were fired at the engine.
Comanav added that a significant number of those aboard jumped in fear into the water as soon as the first shots were fired at the vessel.
Mali’s army noted that the boat had been shot at between Timbuktu, 20 kilometres north of the Niger River, and Gao.
SITE, an American non governmental organisation specialising in monitoring radical groups, noted that, Groupe de soutien à l’islam et aux musulmans (GSIM), a terrorist group with links to Al-Qaeda, took responsibility for the two attacks.
The Sahel region as a whole continues to fight an insurgence of Islamist extremist groups with links to prominent organisations such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Despite French forces completing their withdrawal of troops from the West African country, 3,000 troops will remain in the Sahel region, partly to fight against Islamist insurgencies.
An ex-French colony, Mali gained its independence from France in 1960.
September’s deadly scenes follows last month’s attack by gunmen. On August 18, armed extremists struck terror on the Malian village of Yarou, in the Mopti region.
Last month’s attack saw 21 dead and there is no information yet on who was responsible for the August shootings.