Jihadists Kill 10 Pro-Government Militiamen in North Mali

Islamist rebels killed 10 local militiamen allied with the Mali government in an attack Monday in the north, where the regime faces armed jihadist groups and Touareg separatists, sources told AFP.

The attack took place in the town of Kadji in the outskirts of Gao, according to a police source reached by AFP.

“It was the jihadists who attacked our positions near Gao and we lost 10 combattants,” said Inoussa Maiga, a member of CMFPR, an alliance of armed groups fighting alongside government forces, who are also aided by Russia.

The CMFPR is dominated by local sedentary groups, above all the Songhai, who for decades have been in conflict with nomadic clans in the arid region.

The scarcity of pastures caused by agricultural development and ever more frequent droughts has led to increased tensions between farmers and breeders and encouraged the emergence of criminal and jihadist groups, plunging the region into a cycle of violence.

The colonels who took power in a 2020 coup have vowed to re-take control of the whole country and broken their military partnership with France to turn towards Russia.

The new leaders have also asked the UN’s MINUSMA mission to leave, and last November retook the northern town of Kidal, a Touareg separatist bastion.

The government troops continued to conduct operations in the center and north of the country, causing many civilians deaths, human rights groups say.

Jihadists also still carry out frequent attacks, even in the outskirts of the capital Bamako in the south.

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