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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Mali junta carries out air strikes on ‘terrorists’

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Mali’s military junta said it carried out air strikes on Wednesday against “terrorist groups” that were planning attacks in the north of the country.

“Preventive FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) air strikes followed by an airborne operation targeted armed terrorist groups, including a wanted terrorist leader,” the army said on X, formerly Twitter.

The terrorist groups had exerted “pressure on peaceful populations 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Timbuktu”, the statement added.

Timbuktu has been under a jihadist blockade since late August, according to local officials.

The military said it destroyed a vehicle in the operation, and found “manufacturing equipment for improvised explosive devices and large quantities of ammunition”.

Since 2012, Mali has been in the grip of a deep security crisis that began in the north and has spread to the centre of the country as well as to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Mali’s junta, which seized power in 2020, has made sovereignty a key priority.

The 13,000-member UN peacekeeping force MINUSMA, which first deployed to Mali in 2013, is to leave the country by the end of the year at the junta’s request.

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