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53 soldiers killed in militant attack in Mali

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

SNS | New Delhi |

At least 53 soldiers were killed in a militant attack at a military post in Mali, according to the government on Saturday.

The attack in the landlocked took place late on Friday after the militants stormed the camp in Indelimane of Menaka region, Efe news reported.

Taking to Twitter, Yaya Sangare, Communication Minister tweeted that reinforcements sent to the area had recovered 54 bodies, including a civilian, and found 10 survivors as well as significant material damage.

“The situation is under control”, Sangare wrote.

The process of identifying the bodies was underway, the minister added.

Earlier, the Malian government condemned the “terrorist attack,” saying it had left numerous dead or wounded but without giving a precise toll.

“Reinforcements have been dispatched to secure the area and hunt down the attackers,” the statement added.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

It comes a month after two jihadist assaults that killed 40 soldiers near the border with Burkina Faso, however, several sources said that the death toll had been downplayed.

The deadly assault sparked protests outside a military camp in the country’s capital Bamako.

Mali’s army has been struggling in the face of a jihadist revolt that has spread from the arid north to its centre, an ethnically mixed and volatile region.

The recent assaults are also a humiliation for the so-called G5 Sahel force — a much-trumpeted initiative under which five countries created a joint 5,000-man anti-terror force — and for France, which is committed to shoring up the fragile region.

Northern Mali came under the control of Al-Qaeda linked jihadists after Mali’s army failed to quash a rebellion there in 2012.

(With inputs from agency)