On Sunday, 7 August, at least 17 soldiers and 4 civilians were killed and 9 others were missing, as a result of an attack by jihadists in the town of Tessit, located between the so-called Mali, Burkina and Burkina the three frontiers. Niger.
The balance sheet is “Always temporary and subject to change”according to a statement released by the Malian army on Monday, which said it killed seven enemies “Probably from the Islamic State of the Greater Sahara (EIGS) and benefit from drone and artillery support through the use of explosives and vehicle bombs”. “The covert and uncoordinated overflights recorded by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) yesterday, Sunday and today confirm the thesis that the terrorists benefit from primary support and external expertise”assured the military on Monday night, but gave no further details.
Malian staff also reported that 22 people in the army were injured and that significant material damage included three destroyed vehicles as well as damage to other vehicles, FAMA facilities and civilian homes.
Some of the civilians killed were local elected officials, relatives of the victims told AFP on condition of anonymity.from the side “enemy”in addition to the seven killed, the army evoked “The number of dead and wounded carried by the attackers is unknown”. A previous army casualty killed 4 soldiers and 2 civilians, with 5 more dead “enemy”.
Taixi region is located on the Mali side of the Trilateral Zone, in a huge rural bush that is not controlled by the state, and there are frequent clashes and attacks.
Al Qaeda-affiliated armed groups, led by the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM, JNIM in Arabic), are fighting the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), which is affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group). The jihadists seek to gain control of this strategic and rich area.
The Malian army is stationed in a barracks near the town of Taisi, and is also regularly dispatched to the area, especially the town of Taisi, on missions. Blue Helmets from the United Nations Mission in Mali also operate in this area, which is sometimes called “Mali Gurma”.
As for civilians, as elsewhere in Mali, they have been caught in the crossfire of these actors during the conflict and accused of being allied with one or the other. Residents of the area have fled thousands, especially to the neighbouring large town of Gao, some 150 kilometers to the north.
French soldiers from Operation “Barkhane” also operated there a few months ago. They are preparing to leave Gao, their last base in Mali, to redeploy to Niger.
At the gate of Bamako
On Sunday, the “Barkhane” forces announced that they had eliminated a cadre and several jihadists in the Tratai area, 200 kilometers northeast of Gao, after identifying them. “Thanks for the cross-check of different intelligence sources”.
With the security situation extremely deteriorating, the military junta in power since August 2020 decided to part ways with the old French ally who had been in Mali for nine years and vigorously restart cooperation with Russia.
The Tessit region, like the entire so-called Trilateral region, is more inland during the rainy season from July to September, when heavy rainfall hinders traffic and circulation.
Mali has been in turmoil since 2012. The jihad, initially limited to the north, spread to the centre and south of the country, as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
At least two jihadist attacks in central Mali killed 12 civilians on Saturday and five police officers in the southwest on Sunday. At least 11 coordinated attacks hit Malian territory in late July, largely attributed to al Qaeda-linked jihadists. One took place at the gates of Kati, Bamako and at the heart of Mali’s military establishment.