At least three soldiers killed in central Mali in clashes with extremists

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Three soldiers were killed and five were wounded in clashes with extremists in central Mali on Tuesday, the army said.

The fighting between the towns of Mopti and Segou also left seven extremists dead, the army said in a statement on social networks overnight.

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The clashes erupted after several attacks against the security forces using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), it said.

Mali is in the throes of a nearly 11-year-old security crisis triggered by a regional revolt in the north that developed into a full-blown extremist insurgency.

Thousands have died, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes and devastating economic damage has been inflicted to one of the world’s poorest countries.

In 2015, the insurgency spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Since August 2020, Mali has been ruled by the military, leading to a bustup with France, the country’s traditional ally, and close ties with Russia.

A UN report presented to the Security Council on Tuesday said the security situation has “continued to deteriorate in (the) central Sahel, notably in Burkina Faso and Mali.”

“In Mali, following the departure of international forces, armed groups have advanced in the east, gaining control of large areas bordering the Niger,” the report said.

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