BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on the Malian army and a French army convoy in northeastern Mali.
In a statement issued on an IS-affiliate website, the group said it killed 70 Malian soldiers in an attack last week in Indelimane in Mali’s volatile Menaka region near the border with Niger. Earlier the Malian government said that 53 soldiers and one civilian were killed.
The IS group said it wounded dozens of others, destroyed several vehicles and seized weapons, ammunition and vehicles. The attack was the IS group’s second major assault against Mali’s armed forces in a month, according to the government.
In a separate statement, the IS group claimed responsibility for an attack Saturday on a French army convoy in the same area near Indelimane village. The group said it detonated an explosive device that disabled one vehicle, killing one soldier and wounding others onboard. More than two dozen French troops have been killed in Mali.
The new violence is likely to further raise tensions in the capital, Bamako, where military families have already protested in the streets. They say that soldiers are not being given the resources needed to confront an array of jihadist groups.
The violence occurred a month after 41 soldiers were killed and 20 others went missing during two attacks on Malian soldiers taking part in a regional counterterrorism force.
The two latest attacks are among the most deadly against the Malian army since a 2013 French-led military intervention to oust the jihadists from power in the major towns of northern Mali.