Mali military reports two attacks on army postsThu, 28 Sep 2023 13:32:36 GMT

The Malian army has reported attacks on two of its posts in the north and west of the country, with an Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group claiming responsibility for one of them.Late on Wednesday, the army said on social networks that it had “thwarted attempted attacks” by “terrorists” in Mourdiah in the west.The military reported casualties among the attackers but gave no further details. The army commonly refers to jihadists as “terrorists”.Earlier on Wednesday, it claimed to have repelled a large-scale attack in Acharane, in the northern Timbuktu region. The army provided no further information on that incident.The Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) claimed responsibility, on the Al-Zallaqa propaganda platform, for the attack on Malian soldiers and their allies from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner in Acharane, according to SITE, an American NGO specialising in monitoring radical groups.That operation began with a suicide attack, followed by an assault with heavy and light weapons, according to the GSIM.The group claims it killed many soldiers and captured another.It also claimed to have taken control of the post and set it on fire, seizing six vehicles and a large quantity of weapons and ammunition.It is difficult to verify claims by all sides in such remote areas and with access to independent sources difficult.Mali’s ruling junta, which seized power in 2020, faces a multitude of security challenges throughout the country. It has been playing down the situation in Timbuktu.In addition to the jihadist insurgency, northern Mali is also under threat of an offensive by predominantly Tuareg and Arab separatist groups.The separatist groups captured Timbuktu in 2012 before losing it to jihadists who destroyed some of its famous mausoleums, causing an international outcry.Since the end of August, the north of Mali has seen a resumption of hostilities by predominantly Tuareg armed groups against the Malian army and an intensification of jihadist attacks. The upsurge coincides with the ongoing withdrawal of the UN stabilisation force MINUSMA, which has been pushed out by the ruling junta.The military rulers also pushed a French anti-jihadist force to leave last year.Politically and militarily, it has turned to Russia. Many observers claim that it has enlisted the services of Wagner, despite its constant denials.The junta has made the restoration of sovereignty over the entire country one of its mantras and claims to be reversing the security trend. However, various experts are reporting a deterioration in the situation in a country that has been plunged into turmoil since