A suspected Jihadist attack in Mali has claimed lives of four civilians and a police officer. The attack took place in the country’s southern region. Southern Mali has been mostly spared from Islamist unrest in the country.
Unidentified men attacked a checkpoint near Bougouni town between 3:30 am and 4 am (local time). A local lawmaker told AFP that an outpost used by police and forest rangers was attacked.
The checkpoint sits on a key route between Mali and Ivory Coast.
The attack came as West African leaders from ECOWAS regional bloc prepared to meet in Ghana on Sunday. The meet is to discuss response to political turmoil in Mali. The country has witnessed second military coup in nine months.
New president Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the coup last August and was installed after transitional president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane were stripped of the powers this week, is attending the ECOWAS talks in Accra.
Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, was forced out by young army officers led by Goita last August over perceived corruption and his failure to quell a bloody jihadist insurgency.
The jihadist conflict first emerged in northern Mali in 2012 and has since spread to Burkina Faso and Niger, leaving swathes of the vast nation of 19 million people outside government control.
(With inputs from agencies)