According to two local elected officials and a diplomatic source, suspected jihadists attacked a military camp in central Mali on Saturday.
The site was referred to as a “Russian camp” because Mali’s junta began working with what it calls Russian military “instructors” in 2022. However, opponents believe they are mercenaries from the Wagner group.
The situation is still unclear, and there is no official death toll. However, a local elected official reported that jihadists targeted the airport and the Russian camp adjacent to it.
Four loud explosions and automatic weapons fire were heard around 5:30 am, followed by smoke near the airport.
The camp covers four hectares of land next to the airport and the Malian army camp that houses the Russians. Senegalese soldiers from the UN’s mission in Mali, MINUSMA, were able to slow down the jihadists’ advance.
However, a Malian military official reported a complex attack that required a booby-trapped vehicle and guerrilla tactics.
Since 2012, Mali has been battling jihadist and separatist insurgencies in the north of the country.
Since August 2020, it has been ruled by a military junta, which turned militarily and politically toward Russia, breaking its long-standing alliance with France and other Western partners in the fight against jihadism.