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Shooting reported at Mali's main military base

The military has reportedly managed to re-establish control of the base
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AFP/FLORENT VERGNES  -   Malian soldiers wear the insignia of the Malian Army and Operation Barkhane during the handover ceremony of the Barkhane military base from the French to the Malian Army in Timbuktu on 14 December 2021

Only two weeks have passed since France finally announced the end of Operation Takuba in Mali. In this short period of time, the African country has already been the scene of several jihadist attacks and offensives by armed insurgent groups.

In the last few hours, Mali's main military base, located on the outskirts of Bamako, has been the scene of a violent firefight in which shells were also allegedly used. 

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AFP PHOTO/ECPAD  - A soldier from the Malian Forces (FAMA) speaks with a soldier from the French Operation Barkhane mission (left) during a joint tactical coordination operation, in a file photo

According to the authorities, "the provisional death toll is two assailants neutralised. The situation is under control and clean-up operations are underway to flush out the perpetrators and their accomplices".

According to the Malian news portal Malijense, an intense firefight reportedly took place at this military base in the early hours of the morning and is now under the control of the military. The army is said to have managed to cordon off the town of Kati, where this military base is located, a place where the leader of the military junta, currently the country's governor, Lieutenant Colonel Asimi Goita, who in 2021 staged a coup that brought him to power after overthrowing the then president, Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane, is also usually based. Since then, Goita has ruled the country until the next general elections, tentatively scheduled for 2024.

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PHOTO/AP - In this Aug. 22, 2020 file photo, Col. Assimi Goita meets with a high-level delegation from the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS, at the Ministry of Defence in Bamako, Mali

Since then, relations between Bamako and the international community have reportedly been strained both by the delays that have been announced for the holding of elections and by the significant deployment of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group in the country.

The attacks on the military base have allegedly been linked to jihadist groups in the area linked to both Daesh and Al-Qaeda. In this context, both terrorist groups have been carrying out continuous attacks in the country in recent years and have now managed to move to the capital of Mali itself.

In this situation, just a week ago, armed men attacked an army checkpoint just 60 kilometres from the capital. At least six people were killed and several wounded in the attack, according to the Malian authorities.
 

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FOTO/ARCHIVO - Military personnel stationed in Mali
Jihadist advance in the Sahel

The Sahel region is witnessing an increasingly progressive advance of jihadism, with a particular focus on the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The departure of Western troops and the end of European military operations have left a power vacuum that has gradually been taken over by terrorist groups.

Today, the Sahel is one of the most worrying hotspots for international security. Now, the absence of Western troops is worrying the international community, which has already identified the area as one of the main challenges and threats to the continuation of global security.

This was stated by the Major General of the Civil Guard, Francisco Espadas, who warned during the El Escorial summer courses that the Sahel "is a hornet's nest in which jihadist groups are replacing the State itself".

Along these lines, he stated that, in this region, "the Jihadist groups are where the State does not reach, the large desert regions, where they are creating their own institutions, with their judicial system and their schools", which represents a danger due to the possible indoctrination that the younger population may receive.