Seven Malian soldiers killed in separate attacks

Seven Malian soldiers were killed in separate attacks on Saturday, the army said, in the latest violence in the conflict-ravaged Sahel state.

Five soldiers were killed while on patrol when their truck hit a roadside bomb near the central Mali city of Segou, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, the military said.

“A sweep of the area where the incident occurred led to the arrest of two suspects who were immediately handed over to the gendarmerie,” the statement added.

Earlier on Saturday, two soldiers were also killed and three wounded in a separate attack near the village of Mourdiah, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of Bamako, according to the army.

He added that the death toll was provisional.

Mali has been fighting to contain an Islamist insurgency that first erupted in the north in 2012 and has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.

Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed central Mali and spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Central Mali has become one of the epicenters of the conflict throughout the Sahel, where ethnic killings and attacks on government forces are frequent.

Planting roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices, is a common tactic of jihadist groups in the region.

(AFP)

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