Deadly clashes in eastern Mali kill Malian soldiers, jihadists

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Twenty-four Malian soldiers and 17 jihadists fighters were killed Monday in clashes in the east of the country, the army said, as security in the west African nation deteriorates further.

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Mali and Niger forces were carrying out a joint operation when a patrol was attacked by "terrorists" near the northeastern town of Tabankort, the army said on social media.

According to the military the total toll was "24 dead, 29 injured and material damage" while 17 of the jihadists were killed and a hundred more suspects captured.

The prisoners are in the hands of Niger soldiers, the statement said.

In an earlier statement, which gave a lower death toll, the army said French and Niger forces took part in a counterattack.

The authorities have not named the assailants or identified which group they belonged to. From strongholds in Mali, groups with al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) group links have been able to fan out across the Sahel, destabilising parts of Niger and Burkina Faso.

Violence across the Sahel border regions

Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadists in 2012 before the militants were forced out by a French-led military intervention.

Since then however, the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have become the thRead More – Source

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