Another wave of escalation between the Mali’s army and northern Tuareg rebels. Fierce fighting broke out on September 17, with the rebels claiming to have taken control of two army bases in the town of Lere, located west of Timbuktu near the border of Mauritania.
The rebel alliance, called the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), has been fighting the army since August.
“CMA took control of the two camps in Lere,” said CMA spokesman.
Mali’s armed forces confirmed that an attack took place in Lere and that a response was under way.
A Chinese-made Norinco VP11 MRAP of FAMa was among the vehicles destroyed by the so-called Azawad militants during the seizure of the Léré military base. China delivered dozens of these armored vehicles to the Mali’s military in March this year.
In its turn, Az-Zallaqa Institution, the media arm of the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin reported an attack with four suicide vehicles on the airport and military base of Gao city in northeastern Mali.
According to this report, elements of the Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) detonated one of the suicide vehicles near the airport gate, another one near the runway, and the third vehicle among the military gathering, while the fourth vehicle exploded among the Wagner Group’s forces on Friday (September 8, 2023).
Following these explosions, the JNIM militants engaged in clashes with both forces of the Malian army and Wagner Group for a day, resulting in the deaths of tens of Malian and Wagner forces, as well as the destruction of a significant part of the airport, an unknown number of airplanes, and dozens of vehicles.
Terrorist beheaded enemies on the Gossi-Gao road:
Fighter of the Wagner PMC on a combat mission in Mali:
The Malian government also issued a statement, confirming the explosion of two suicide vehicles in Gao city on Friday. According to the official government statement, in these attacks, 64 people, including 49 civilians and 15 military personnel, lost their lives.
In response to the heavy casualties from this crime, the government declared three days of national mourning. The Malian government also announced that in retaliation for the terrorists’ attack, government forces have killed 50 militants in a ground and air operation.
Images of Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin attacks on Gao:
The Az-Zallaqa Institution also reported mortar attacks on Timbuktu Airport in the center of Mali on Monday, September 11 and 14. This attack caused damages to the airport and suspended the flights.
Images of Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin attacks on Timbuktu airport:
Az-Zallaqa also published a video of the wreckage of a Mi-8 helicopter allegedly belonging to the Wagner PMC or the Malian Army, which was shot down by JNIM elements on September 8 in Segou district. According to Az-Zallaqa, several Wagner PMC forces were killed and wounded.
Wreckage of Mil-8 helicopter shot down by JNIM:
According to Az-Zallaqa, elements of this group clashed with Wagner PMC forces the next day at the same spot and disabled another helicopter.
It should be noted that recently, local sources reported the siege of Timbuktu city by the JNIM terrorists. The attacks of Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin are increasing while the international forces present in Mali, known as MINUSMA, are withdrawing their forces from this country at the request of the Mali government.
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