No fewer than 10 Malian soldiers have been killed in an overnight ambush in a central region near the Mauritanian border where armed jihadist groups are rampant, security and local sources said Friday.
It is the third time Malian security forces have suffered heavy losses since the military took power in a coup on August 18.
According to an internal security ministry report seen by AFP, 10 soldiers were killed, including a senior officer, in the attack in Guire and four vehicles were torched.
An elected official from the Guire region confirmed the toll.
“In the night, shots prevented us from sleeping, it looked like bombs, our houses were shaking,” the official told AFP by phone.
A local administrator speaking on condition of anonymity said men on motorcycles had been in the area since Monday.
Four Malian soldiers were killed and 12 others wounded on August 27 in a jihadist ambush near the central town of Mopti, before the army killed 20 enemy fighters, it said.
The army said it also suffered major equipment losses.
Four soldiers had been killed five days earlier when their vehicle was hit by a bomb.
That incident also occurred in central Mali, a volatile, ethnically-diverse region that has been badly affected by the jihadist revolt.
The troubled West African country was plunged into further crisis when a military junta ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, shocking Mali’s neighbours, which fear the fragile state already battling jihadism and an economic slump may slide into chaos.