Islamic extremists have attacked a military camp in central Mali, killing at least 27 soldiers and seriously wounding nearly two dozen others in the deadliest attack this year, the state broadcaster said.
ORTM reported the assault happened near the town of Mondoro, not far from Mali’s troubled border with Burkina Faso.
Friday’s attack comes amid growing fears that Islamic extremists could regain territory as French troops are leaving in the months to come. The French military intervened in 2013, leading a military operation to dislodge extremists from control in the major towns of northern Mali.
In the years since, though, those militants regrouped and extended their reach in the centre of Mali and have kept up attacks on Malian soldiers and UN peacekeepers working to stabilise the country.
The country also went through two coups in the span of 18 months, instability that preceded the French drawdown.
Colonel Assimi Goita has reneged on promises to hold a new presidential election last month, and has now postponed the vote until 2026. Goita’s actions have prompted widespread condemnation, which in turn led to tension with international partners including France.
French President Emmanuel Macron said last month the troop withdrawal will take place over a six-month period, though Malian authorities soon countered that they should do so “without delay.”