Malian separatists lay claim to deadly attack against soldiers

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Separatist groups made up of Tuareg rebels have laid claims to killing over 98 Malian soldiers in one of the deadliest attacks witnessed in the country in recent months.

In statements released by the separatists on Sunday by its propaganda arm, the Permanent Strategic Framework dominated by the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), the rebels said they also wounded dozens of soldiers, took five prisoners, and lost only seven of their own fighters.

The alliance which is made up of predominantly Tuareg groups, is seeking autonomy and independence from the Malian state and have been carrying out sporadic attacks mainly aimed at government soldiers.

The attack was the deadliest in recent times, marking another heavy loss for the country’s forces as they battle separatists and jihadists, according to local media reports.

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The Malian authorities have not made a categorical statement on the attack, but military sources say the soldiers had engaged the separatists in fierce battle in the region but were affected by the remoteness of the areas which gave the rebels the upper hand.

The sources added that the attack would mark the CMA’s most southerly operation since it resumed attacks against the Malian army in the north of the country at the end of August.

The Malian army however, had only acknowledged an assault on one of its camps in Dioura in the Mopti region on Thursday, without giving further details.

Local media also report that the north of the troubled nation has seen a resumption of hostilities by the CMA and an intensification of jihadist attacks against the Malian army with the operations often targeting several army positions.

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