Six soldiers were killed in Sokolo while 12, including 3 civilians, were killed in Kalumba, in the Nara region.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bear the mark of militant groups linked to Al Qaeda.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bear the mark of militant groups linked to Al Qaeda. (Reuters)

At least three civilians and 15 soldiers have been killed in separate attacks in central Mali as insecurity worsens in the West African nation.

Two attacks on Wednesday targeted Mali army positions in the centre of the country, and the army fought back killing at least 48 assailants, said army spokesman Col. Souleymane Dembele.

“Malian Armed Forces repelled terrorist attacks targeting positions in Sevare, Sokolo and Kalumba early this Wednesday,” he said in a statement. 

The soldiers killed include “six dead in Sokolo” and “12 dead, including 3 civilians, in Kalumba, in the Nara region,” the statement said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bear the mark of militant groups linked to Al Qaeda which are present in those areas and whose local leader, Amadou Koufa, sent a message a few weeks ago urging his fighters to intensify attacks against the Malian army.

READ MORE: Attack on Mali military base repelled, situation under control: Army

The attacks in central Mali come days after the attack on Mali’s largest military base, Kati, just 15 kilometres (9 miles) outside the capital, Bamako, in which at least one person was killed.

Military coup

Since a coup in 2020 in which democratically-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was overthrown, Mali has been ruled by a military junta, led by Lt. Col. Assimi Goita, who has had himself appointed president. 

The military regime has said it will govern in the transitional period until elections are held in 2024.

In recent weeks the junta has reduced the presence of foreign troops assisting its fight against extremist rebels.

The government withdrew Mali from the G5 Sahel alliance, composed of five neighbouring countries working together to battle militants' violence, and asked a French and European military force fighting these groups to leave the country. 

READ MORE: Mali to suspend UN peacekeeping mission rotations

Attacks have circled the capital as the French military, in Mali since 2013, withdraws. Mali has enlisted support from the Russian mercenary outfit, the Wagner Group. 

Source: AP