Death toll rises to 54 on Malian army post

An armed attack on an army post in the north of the country has killed 53 soldiers and one civilian, government spokesman Yaya Sanjari said Saturday.

Sanjari said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg news agency that reinforcements pushed to the army site in Andelimani near the Niger border, found 54 bodies and reported serious material damage.

Earlier on Saturday, officials said 35 soldiers were killed in the attack.

The attack, believed to have been carried out by Islamic militants, took place early on Friday at a base in the northern region of Andlemani, on the border with Niger, the Malian army said in a statement on its website on Saturday.

The attack follows another attack that killed 38 financial soldiers at two military posts early last month. Islamic militants are also believed to have been behind the attack.

The Malian army said earlier that 20 soldiers survived the attack and that the situation is under control, pointing out that an investigation is under way.

Central and northern Mali have been the scene of repeated violence and attacks following a military coup in 2012, which saw the secession of rebel groups and later al Qaeda-linked militants.

Operations by French and African military forces, as well as efforts by the Malian army to drive out the militants and regain government control of the area, have helped rebel activities and military operations in the area despite the signing of several peace agreements.


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