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06/16/2020 Mali (International Christian Concern) – A spokesman for the west African nation’s army said that, “gunmen killed 24 Malian soldiers in an ambush on their convoy in central Mali.” Colonel Diarran Kone told Reuters that, “four vehicles were destroyed.” The attack is the deadliest since November 2019 when 53 soldiers were killed during an assault on an army post in northern Mali. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in an area around 100 km (60 miles) south of the border with Mauritania. Al Qaeda-linked Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) in known to operate around the area.

Jihadist groups with links to Islamic State and al Qaeda have carried out frequent attacks on the army and United Nations peacekeeping forces in Mali in recent weeks. Two U.N. peacekeepers were killed on Saturday in a separate attack on a logistics convoy further north. Mali has been in crisis since 2012 when al Qaeda-linked militants hijacked an insurrection by Tuareg separatists and seized the desert north. Forces from the West African country’s former colonial ruler France intervened the following year to drive them back. The militants have regrouped and extended their operations into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

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