Attack on Mali military post kills 49 soldiers

A “terrorist attack” on a military post in strife-torn northeastern Mali has left 49 soldiers dead, the army said Saturday, revising downward an earlier death toll.

The assault on Friday at Indelimane, in the Menaka region, close to the border with Niger, was one of the deadliest strikes against Mali’s military in a region wracked by Islamist violence.

The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) “have recorded 49 dead, three wounded and material damage, and some 20 survivors have been recovered,” it said on its Facebook page on Saturday.

“The situation is under FAMa control.”

The government on Friday had said 53 people died in what it described as a “terrorist attack.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

An army officer said troops arrived at the outpost around 5pm on Friday and “took back control of our positions.

“The terrorists carried out a surprise attack at lunchtime. Army vehicles were destroyed, others taken away,” he told AFP.

The army and the government announced Friday that reinforcements were sent to the area.

The attacks comes a month after two militant assaults killed 40 soldiers near the border with Burkina Faso. However several sources said the death toll had been underestimated.