Five sol­diers killed in Mali road­side at­tack

The Punch - - WORLD NEWS -

FIVE Malian sol­diers have been killed in a road­side bomb at­tack, a gov­ern­ment spokesman said, in the lat­est at­tack to hit the West African coun­try's volatile cen­tral re­gion, Al­jazeera re­ports.

The troops were trav­el­ling in the re­gion of Ala­tona, near the bor­der with Mau­ri­ta­nia, when their con­voy hit a bomb on Mon­day morn­ing, de­stroy­ing four ve­hi­cles. "Re­in­force­ments are al­ready in place for the op­er­a­tion to neu­tralise the en­e­mies," gov­ern­ment spokesman Yaya San­gare said on Twit­ter.

Mali has been strug­gling to con­tain an armed up­ris­ing that erupted in the north in 2012 and that has claimed thou­sands of mil­i­tary and civil­ian lives in the years since.

More than 140 Malian sol­diers have re­port­edly died in at­tacks be­tween Septem­ber and De­cem­ber.

De­spite some 4,500 French troops in the Sa­hel re­gion, plus a 13,000-strong United Na­tions peace­keep­ing force in Mali, the con­flict has en­gulfed the cen­tre of the coun­try and spread to neigh­bour­ing Burk­ina Faso and Niger.

Hid­ing home­made bombs un­der well­trav­elled roads is a fre­quent means of at­tack used by armed groups. Oth­er­wise known as im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices, they kill and maim scores of vic­tims in Mali each year.

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