Africa

Mali attack kills 49 soldiers in north of the country

Mali army badge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Friday's violence came a month after 38 soldiers died in an attack near the border with Burkina Faso

Militants in eastern Mali have killed 49 soldiers in an attack on a military post in Indelimane in the Menaka region, the army has said.

This makes it one of the deadliest assaults of the past decade.

The Islamic State (IS) group said via its self-styled Amaq news outlet it was behind the attack.

Mali has suffered violence since 2012, when Islamist militants took over the north. With the help of France, Mali's army has recaptured the territory.

However, insecurity there continues and the violence has spread to other countries in the region.

In a separate and unlinked incident on Saturday, a French soldier was killed in Liptako in the same area.

Brigadier Ronan Pointeau died after his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, the French government said in a statement. Brigadier is the equivalent of corporal.

It was earlier reported that 54 soldiers had died in the attack on the military post, based on a statement by government spokesperson, Yaya Sangare.

Reinforcements sent to the post found "significant material damage", Mr Sangare said.

Thirty-eight soldiers died when two military camps were attacked near the border with Burkina Faso at the end of September.

Mali - along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania - is part of an anti-insurgency force supported by France known as the G5 Sahel.

The five-nation group blamed "suspected members of Ansarul Islam" for September's attack.

Ansarul Islam, meaning Defenders of Islam, was created in 2016 by the radical and popular preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko. He reportedly fought with Islamist militants in the north of Mali in 2012.

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