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07/27/22 Mali (International Christian Concern) – On Friday, June 22, Mali’s Kati military base, located outside the capital of Bamako, was attacked by jihadi militants. The Kati military base is the largest military base in the country, and it was the first time the base was attacked in the decade of insurgency that has plagued the country.  

According to military reports, militants drove vehicles into the base and blew them up with explosives. The military also reported that seven of the militants were killed, and eight of them were arrested.  

An anonymous military official reported the attack to the Associated Press in a statement saying, “The terrorists first blew up the vehicles at the entrance to the military camp, then shells were fired at the camp.” Then, “another group of the jihadis entered the camp on foot and began burning vehicles parked in the camp, and then the attackers stole two army vehicles.” 

Friday’s attacks follow several recent attacks by militants, one of which was a raid on a police base in Kolokani, a town 37 miles north of Bamako, that left two soldiers dead. The jihadi militant groups involved in Mali’s 10-year insurgency include affiliate groups of both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. While their attacks have been mostly concentrated in the northern part of the country, lately, they have moved into the central regions and closer to the capital.  

While the affiliation of the attackers is yet to be determined, officials believe it is JNIM, a group with ties to al-Qaida. Héni Nsaibia, a senior researcher at The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, spoke on the attacks, saying, “the al-Qaida affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin continues to expand its operations outside its traditional strongholds in northern and central Mali. As in other Sahelian countries such as Burkina Faso and Niger … major cities, including the capitals themselves, are increasingly surrounded by a steady spread of Islamist militancy that poses an ever-increasing risk and challenge to the security environment.” 

Mali has been torn apart by an Islamic militant insurgency since 2012 when militants took control of the northern cities but were later removed with help from a French military operation. After this, the jihadists began targeting the country’s military and its allies, leading to more attacks on civilians.  

ICC has followed the conflict in Mali, reporting on militant attacks on Christian communities. Because of the increased presence of Islamic extremism in the country, Christians are especially vulnerable to attacks and kidnappings.  

Please pray for peace in Mali and the Lord’s protection over Christians in the country.  

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