Two Firefighters, Three Civilians Killed in Mali Attack: Ministry

Two firefighters and three civilians were killed on Monday night in an attack in southeastern Mali, the ministry of security and civil protection said Tuesday.

A sixth person was also wounded.

“At around 9:00 pm, the Civil Protection Road Rescue Post of Markacoungo, on the Bamako-Segou road, was attacked by unidentified armed individuals,” said a statement signed by Deputy Director General of Civil Protection Dramane Diallo.

Authorities identified two of the dead as Chief Fire Sergeant Idrissa Dembele and firefighter Tieba Coulibaly.

Military ceremonies and burials for the two service members are scheduled for Wednesday.

“All measures are being taken by the Defence and Security Forces to search for, identify and arrest the perpetrators of this despicable act so that they may be held accountable for their actions”, the statement said.

It also invited “the population to collaborate with the Defense and Security Forces.”

Attacks are rare in the area where Monday’s violence took place.

But Mali, a landlocked Sahel country, is struggling with a decade-long jihadist insurgency that has swept into neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Across the three countries, thousands of civilians, troops, and police have died, and more than two million people have fled their homes.

The ruling junta, which has been in power since 2020, has brought in Russian operatives it describes as military trainers to help fight the insurgency.

Western countries describe the operatives as mercenaries from the pro-Kremlin Wagner group.

Meanwhile, the future of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali is in doubt, as violence rages in the center, north and east of the country.

Germany in December became the seventh country in recent months to decide to stop or suspend its participation in the mission.

Last month, two UN peacekeepers were killed and four others wounded when unidentified assailants opened fire on the police patrol in Timbuktu.

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