According to military sources, Malian troops destroyed two jihadist camps and arrested fifteen suspected militants in what is the latest operation combatting radical Islamist groups near the southern border with the Ivory Coast.
A military officer has reported that “during new military operations in the area, we arrested 15 new jihadists and destroyed a new sanctuary of theirs in the region of Sikasso, on the border with Ivory Coast.” The source further disclosed that amongst the jihadists that were arrested was a radical preacher who “came from Ivory Coast in order to build a mosque in a Malian village where he would impose his law.” Military sources have also reported that troops seized arms, explosives and motorbikes in a raid on another camp near the frontier town of Fakola, which was targeted by militants on 28 June. The attack was later claimed by Islamist group Ansar Dine.
This latest raid also comes after Malian troops last week killed several jihadists in the Sikasso region, which is also located near the border with the Ivory Coast. During that raid, troops also destroyed the insurgents’ camp in a forest straddling the frontier.
While jihadist attacks are normally confined to Mali’s restive northern desert region, since the beginning of this year, militants have also targeted towns bordering Mauritania, in attacks that appear to indicate that militant groups are expanding their areas of operation.