Mali: Terror attack kills 9 civilians, 60 wounded in central Mali

By Aurore Bonny

DOUALA, Cameroon (AA): Nine civilians were killed and 61 others wounded Saturday in a suicide attack and shooting in Savare in the Mopti region of central Mali, according to the regional governor.

“The Malian Armed Forces (FAMAs) thwarted a complex attack in the vicinity of the Sevare airport with loud explosions and gunfire that disrupted the peace of the population starting at 5:30 am on Saturday, April 22, 2023,” the General Staff said in a statement.

The attack of a truck bomb with explosive devices and a shell thrown in the direction of the air force followed by sporadic gunfire that resulted in the casualties, region Gov. Abass Koke Dembele told Anadolu.

“Another car bomb was neutralized by defense and security forces near the northeast side of the airport. A terrorist attack was quickly understood and quickly controlled by our military,” he said.

He said he found ” the “fatal” attack “terrifying” which caused the population to wake up “under the rubble” and had many victims, including children and pregnant women.

The General Staff assured the nation that “the situation is under control since the first minutes” indicating that “sweeps are underway.”

The head of the Red Cross delegation in Mali, Antoine Grand, wrote on Twitter that he was “very concerned about the situation” and reported that the organization’s teams were dealing with “a very large number of injured.”

Since 2012, Mali has been facing a security crisis fueled by separatist claims and terror attacks, particularly in the north and center of the country.

El-Ghassim Wane, head of the UN Mission in Mali (UNMIS), speaking April 14 before the UN Security Council, deplored “the continuing violence perpetrated by terrorist groups in some parts of Mali” that is having “devastating consequences for civilians.

The UN’s recent report indicated that the number of civilians killed in Mali more than doubled between 2021 and 2022. A total of 1,277 people were killed in 2022 in violence attributable to various actors, compared to 584 in 2021, an increase of 118%, according to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The army responded to the report with a statement claiming to have eliminated more than 200 terrorists.

“This West African government’s security management is difficult to assess because each government gives figures to its advantage. The press gives information with the contrary which shows that the security elements are in a bad position,” said Djedjro Francisco Meledje, an Ivorian specialist in the protection of rights and former secretary of the Ivorian Constitutional Council,

Meledje, who is also an honorary dean of the Abidjan Law School in Ivory Coast — Mali’s neighbor — estimated in a telephone interview with Anadolu, that “the UN report gives objective data and it can be realized that it is very difficult for this government to control the security situation.”

[Map of Mali from CIA Factbook/Public Domain]

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