Nineteen “terrorists” and three armed groups have been eliminated by Malian forces in operations against extremists since March 22, the military said in a statement.
It confirmed the “neutralization of four terrorists in the Niono zone” in the center of the country, as well as the elimination of “three armed terrorist groups” in the Baoule forest and “15 terrorists” in the Manfoune, Vanekui and Mandiakui sectors.
AFP was not able to verify the death toll given by the Malian army, whose statement issued late Thursday did not announce any losses among its ranks.
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The number is in addition to 203 fighters the military said it had killed in a “large-scale” operation in the Moura region in March.
Witnesses interviewed by media and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have spoken of a large-scale massacre of civilians in Moura.
HRW has said 300 were killed by Malian soldiers and foreign fighters.
Ruled by a military junta since August 2020, Mali has been in turmoil since 2012.
Extremist attacks have spread from the north to the center of the country and into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, says nearly 600 civilians were killed in 2021 in violence blamed mainly on extremist groups, but also on vigilante groups and the armed forces.
Mali’s military judiciary on Wednesday announced the opening of an investigation into the recent events in Moura.
Mali army says 19 ‘terrorists,’ three armed groups eliminated