The Malian army has reported attacks on three of its posts in the north, west and center of the country since Wednesday, with separatists and jihadists from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Groupe de soutien à l’islam et aux musulmans (GSIM) each claiming temporary control of two of them.
The army said on social networks on Thursday evening that its camp at Dioura, in the central Mopti region, had been targeted mid-afternoon by a “terrorist” suicide attack, without giving further details.
A spokesman for the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA), an alliance of predominantly Tuareg separatist armed groups, told AFP that the CMA had taken the camp.
This would be the CMA’s most southerly operation since it resumed hostilities against the Malian army in the north at the end of August.
On Wednesday evening, the army announced on social networks that it had “foiled attempted attacks” by “terrorists” against the Mourdiah (west) stronghold. It reported casualties among the attackers, but gave no further details.
Earlier on Wednesday, it had repelled a major attack on its positions in Acharane, in the Timbuktu region (north). No further information was given.
The GSIM claimed responsibility on the Al-Zallaqa propaganda platform for an attack on Malian soldiers and their allies from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner in Acharane, according to SITE, an American NGO.
The operation began with a suicide attack, in which the perpetrator was killed, followed by an assault with heavy and light weapons, says GSIM. The group claims to have killed numerous soldiers and captured one. It also claims to have taken control of the post and set it on fire, seizing six vehicles and a large quantity of arms and ammunition.
In these remote areas, it is difficult to verify the information provided by all sides. Access to independent sources in a context of hostilities and military rule is complicated.
Since the end of August, northern Mali has seen a resumption of hostilities by the CMA and an intensification of jihadist attacks against the Malian army. This upsurge coincides with the ongoing withdrawal of the UN mission, pushed out by the junta in power since 2020.
This upsurge is juxtaposed with ongoing violence in central Mali and jihadist expansion in the north and east.
The junta has already forced the departure of the French anti-jihadist force in 2022. Politically and militarily, it has turned to Russia. A multitude of observers confirm that it has enlisted the services of Wagner, despite his constant denials.
It has made the restoration of sovereignty over the entire territory one of its mantras, and claims to be reversing the security trend. On the contrary, various experts report a worsening situation in a country plunged into turmoil since 2012.