Eleven soldiers and four civilians were killed on Sunday in attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, neighbouring West African countries struggling with deadly jihadist insurgencies, military and security sources said.
Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives into three military camps in central Mali before dawn, the military said in a statement. Six were killed and 15 wounded at the Sevare camp, and five were wounded at two other locations.
Across the border in northern Burkina Faso, armed gunmen attacked a military detachment in Gaskinde in the early hours, killing five soldiers and four civilians, two security sources told Reuters.
Military juntas have snatched power in Mali and Burkina Faso in the last two years, promising to provide greater security than their democratically-elected predecessors.
But violent attacks persist. The armed forces of both countries have been accused of abuses against civilians in their attempt to root out Islamist fighters from rural desert communities. read more
The trouble began in Mali in 2012 when Islamists took over the north. French forces beat them back, but they regrouped and were soon carrying out attacks closer to the capital Bamako in the south.
Within years, groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State spread and were wreaking havoc in Burkina Faso and Niger. Thousands have died and millions have been displaced.
The junta that toppled Mali’s government in a 2020 military coup has sought the help of private fighters belonging to Russia’s Wagner Group, accused of committing abuses in other countries and sanctioned by the European Union.
Mali and Russia have previously said they are not mercenaries but trainers helping local troops with equipment purchased from Russia.
The Russian government denies ties to the Wagner Group.