BAMAKO – The attack on Sunday in Tessit (Ansongo, Gao region), in northern Mali near the Niger border, left 42 dead and 22 injured in the ranks of the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa), according to a new report published Wednesday by the Malian government.
Forty-two Malian soldiers died in a sophisticated weekend attack by terrorists using drones and artillery, authorities said Wednesday, the latest violent incident to rock the troubled Sahel country.
On Monday, the army had said 17 soldiers and four civilians died. Relatives of the victims, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some of the civilians were elected officials.
This attack is the deadliest in recent years for the Malian army, which has been battling a decade-long insurgency by militant groups that have spread across West Africa’s Sahel region.
“The Malian army units of Tessit… reacted vigorously to a complex and coordinated attack by armed terrorist groups, presumably from Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), characterised by the use of drones, explosives, car bombs, and artillery,” the government said in a statement.
Soldiers killed 37 combatants during several hours of heavy fighting, it added.
Three days of national mourning
Mali’s transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goïta, on Wednesday declared a three-day national mourning in memory of the 42 soldiers killedة on Sundayة in the terrorist attack that targeted their camp in Tessit, in the Gao region, media reported.
“This national mourning began Thursday at midnight local time. Flags will be flown at half-mast on all public buildings for three days, the decree said.