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Extremists launch deadly attack on army camps in central Mali

Daphne Benoit, AFP | Malian soldiers taking part in the 'Hawbi' tactical coordination operation and soldiers of the France's Barkhane mission patrol on November 2, 2017 in central Mali.

Mali's government says at least 25 people have been killed and 60 are missing after al-Qaida-linked groups attacked two bases in central Mali near the Burkina Faso border

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Al-Qaida-linked groups attacked two army bases in central Mali, killing at least 25 people and leaving 60 missing, Mali's government said Tuesday.

Assailants rode into the community of Boulikessi with heavy weaponry overnight Sunday to Monday to attack a Malian battalion of the regional G5 Sahel Force, said a force commander, Niger Gen. Oumarou Namatou Gazama. He blamed "the terrorist group" Ansarul Islam.

Mali's government said that after exchanges of gunfire, the army had retaken Boulikessi, killing at least 15 extremists and destroying five of their vehicles. It said a joint force with Burkina Faso soldiers was pursuing the extremists behind the attacks.

The attack on the camp caused "heavy equipment losses and major damage," Malian government spokesman Yaya Sangaré said earlier in a statement.

Around the same time early Monday, armed men attacked another army camp in Mondoro.

A resident there said two civilians were among the casualties. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears for his safety.

Meanwhile, nearly 30 people have been killed in Burkina Faso's Bam province the past two weeks, including 17 over the weekend, according to the provincial high commissioner, Ambrose Ouedraogo. The violence in the municipalities of Zimtenga and Bourzanga has displaced nearly 19,000 people in the past three days, he said.

Extremists have gained a larger foothold in Burkina Faso's north in the past few years, staging more attacks near its borders with Mali and Niger. Hundreds have been killed.

(AP)

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