Militants in volatile central Mali killed a prison officer and a gendarme late Monday night, officials said, in a raid that saw a jail set ablaze and five inmates escape.
Gunmen targeted a prison and gendarmerie in the village late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the district prosecutor Dramane Diarra told AFP, killing one gendarme and prison guard.
He added that the jail had been “torched” and that five prisoners escaped in the melee, without offering further details.
A local Kimparana resident told AFP that the prison guard “fought until his last breath,” and that soldiers had now secured the area. “We wish that they would protect us more,” he said of the security forces.
According to the United Nations, at least 580 civilians have been killed in Central Mali this year.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights told UN News that “all of these violations and abuses have been perpetrated in a context of overwhelming impunity,” only eroding the public’s confidence in government institutions.
Large swathes of territory in Mali lie outside of the control of the government, which has been grappling with an Islamist insurgency that first emerged in the north in 2012.
Despite thousands of foreign troops, the conflict has spread to central Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
The ethnic mosaic of central Mali has become the epicenter of the violence, however, where warring jihadist groups vie with Malian soldiers and local militias.
In mid-June, jihadists killed 24 soldiers when they ambushed a military convoy in central Mali.
That attack followed a January 26 raid by al-Qaeda-linked militants on a military camp in central Mali, which killed 20 gendarmes.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has been in power since 2013, is facing mounting pressure over the jihadist conflict. Public anger has helped to fuel a protest movement insisting on his resignation.