AFP

Nine Mali soldiers killed in ambush: army 3 July 2020 - 20:37

Nine Malian soldiers were killed in an ambush in the conflict-wracked centre of the country as they made their way to the site of a massacre of villagers, the army said on Friday.The latest attack took place on Thursday at the entrance to Gouari, one of the villages where armed men massacred around 30 civilians the day before.A military unit was dispatched to the site on Wednesday to help bury the 31 bodies, army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone told AFP.On Thursday, the army received information about a new attack and sent the unit to Gouari, he said."When it arrived at around 8 pm, the village seemed deserted, there were practically no signs of life," he said. "Just at the entrance, the FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) walked into an ambush," he said, without naming who might be behind the attack."We regret that nine died and two were injured, and equipment was also destroyed."Unrest in central Mali has killed nearly 600 civilians this year, the United Nations said last month.Clashes between the ethnic Fulani and Dogon communities have increased in recent months, with community-based militias -- initially formed for defence -- now launching attacks.Mali's war erupted in 2012 when Tuareg rebels supported by armed Islamists took over the desert north of the West African country. The rebels were then outmanoeuvred by their Islamist allies and the French military intervened to force them back.The conflict has since swept into the centre of Mali and spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, inflaming ethnic tensions.

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