Since 2012 Mali has witnessed brutal jihadist insurgency near its borders. To try and end the fighting, Niger and Burkina Faso, neighboring Mali, have provided their assistance to the Mali government over the years. But Mali has still found it hard to end the brutal conflict in North and Central Mali.
Attacks in the Sahel and Central Mali
The extremist groups have dominated most of the rural parts of Mali’s northern Sahel region. Because of this, the jihadists have had an easy time continuing to take over other parts of Mali and running their operations. So far, the militias have managed over the few years to extend their conflict and control to Central Mali, which has a more significant population than the north.
The militias in Mali have caused unbelievable havoc in both the Sahel region and Central Mali. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have lost their lives due to the conflict going on in the area. Additionally, numerous people have ended up fleeing their homes into other countries seeking safer shelter. The insurgents have forcefully recruited children left behind or otherwise orphaned due to their brutality to join their armies. The people in Mali remain scared and uncertain of what the next day might bring with it. Some Sahel residents have even preferred to flee their homes and live as refugees instead of being caught in the crossfires with the extremists.
As the Sahel’s fighting has become increasingly brutal, some international countries and organizations have also offered a helping hand to Mali. The nation’s former colonial power France for instance, launched military operations to drive the militants back. France has stayed true to helping Mali recover the Sahel for years now. The nation has supplied Mali with soldiers and provided training to the Malian troops. About 5.100 French troops are deployed in Mali, and they continue with the mission to recover the Sahel and Central Mali.
Jihadists Attack United Nations Peacekeepers
Apart from The French troops, the United Nations also has some 13,00 troops deployed in Mali. The U.N deployed the soldiers as part of its peacekeeping mission in the West African country. But the insurgents in Mali haven’t been quite happy with the international interference. The armed militants have made it a priority to attack foreign military positions in Mali whenever they can. Last year, for instance, the militants carried out simultaneous attacks in Maneka, Gao, and Kidal in northern Mali. According to a United Nations official and locals, the attacks hit military camps housing international forces.
This week the jihadists attacked the United Nations peacekeepers. The militants opened fire on the U.N peacekeepers base near the town of Douentza at around 0700 GMT. An official of the U.N peacekeeping mission reported that the attackers wounded twenty soldiers, and several others were seriously wounded.
The official also said that they have been conducting numerous security operations in the Sahel and Central Mali for several months. He said he believed that the Jihadists attacked them more often because their operations disturbed their peace. However, the peacekeepers remain committed to standing by Malians and stopping the militants.