Over 49 Civilians Killed in Attack on Riverboat

Estimated read time 2 min read

Extremist insurgents have assaulted a riverboat in northeastern Mali, resulting in the deaths of at least 49 civilians, as confirmed by the interim government.

Additionally, they reportedly targeted a military encampment, claiming the lives of 15 soldiers, while approximately 50 militants are reported to have perished.

In response, the government has declared a three-day period of national mourning.

Despite the military’s claims that Russian Wagner Group mercenaries were altering the course of their campaign, the Islamist threat in the region continues to escalate.

The city of Timbuktu in the north has remained under siege since the conclusion of last month, with several recent transport-related attacks adding to the growing tension.

It should be noted that the BBC was unable to independently verify the latest government announcement, which was broadcast on national television.

Over 49 Civilians Killed in Attack on Riverboat Meta Description (2 lines)

The insurgents purportedly launched the assault on the riverboat during its voyage along the River Niger, from the town of Gao to Mopti. Simultaneously, they targeted a military encampment situated in the Bourem Circle within the Gao region.

The Malian military disclosed on social media that the riverboat came under attack at approximately 1100 GMT by “armed terrorist groups.”

Officials from Comanav, the boat operator, informed the AFP news agency that the vessel had been struck by a minimum of three rockets aimed at its engines.

The boat was left stranded on the river, necessitating a military rescue operation to evacuate passengers, as disclosed by an anonymous Comanav spokesperson.

Civilians in Mali have been under the control of a military junta since 2020

The junta garnered significant public support when it assumed power following extensive protests against then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. The public’s discontent stemmed from economic instability, a contested election, and persistent security challenges.

However, subsequent data suggests that Mali’s military-led government has made limited progress in countering the Islamist groups that hold sway over certain areas of the country.

Since 2012, an insurgency with affiliations to both al-Qaeda and Islamic State has taken root in northern Mali. Islamist militants have since expanded their influence, spreading throughout the Sahel region and reaching coastal nations in West Africa.

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