At least 54 people, including 53 soldiers, were killed in Mali on Friday in a “terrorist attack” targeting a military outpost in the north of the country, Communication Minister Yaya Sangari said.
“In the aftermath of the attack,” Sangari said on Twitter. “In Indiliman, reinforcements found 54 bodies, including one civilian.”
The army had earlier talked about the deaths of 35 soldiers in that “terrorist attack”, and wrote on Facebook: “The temporary death toll rose to 35 dead.” The army said Friday’s attack resulted in “injuries and material damage”.
This comes a month after 40 soldiers were killed in two attacks on September 30 and October 1 near Burkina Faso in southern Mali, according to a defense official.
In a statement, the Malian government condemned the “terrorist attack that left many dead and many wounded and material damage to the defense and national security forces,” without giving a specific toll. “Reinforcements have been sent to secure the area and pursue the attackers.”
Al-Qaeda militants took control of northern Mali in the spring of 2012. But a military intervention initiated by France in January 2013 is continuing and has driven most of the militants out.
However, attacks continued and expanded from northern Mali to the center and then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.