Millitants in Central Mali Set Jail Ablaze in Attack Killing Two

 In West Africa, Africa

Militants in volatile cen­tral Mali killed a prison offi­cer and a gen­darme late Monday night, offi­cials said, in a raid that saw a jail set ablaze and five inmates escape.

The overnight attack occurred in the vil­lage of Kimparana, in the Segou region of cen­tral Mali, which has wit­nessed a surge in violence linked to a Jihadist insurgency.

Gunmen tar­get­ed a prison and gen­darmerie in the vil­lage late Monday night or early Tuesday morn­ing, the dis­trict pros­e­cu­tor Dramane Diarra told AFP, killing one gen­darme and prison guard.

He added that the jail had been “torched” and that five pris­on­ers escaped in the melee, with­out offer­ing fur­ther details.

A local Kimparana res­i­dent told AFP that the prison guard “fought until his last breath,” and that sol­diers had now secured the area. “We wish that they would pro­tect us more,” he said of the secu­ri­ty forces.

According to the United Nations, at least 580 civil­ians have been killed in Central Mali this year.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights told UN News that “all of these vio­la­tions and abuses have been per­pe­trat­ed in a con­text of over­whelm­ing impuni­ty,” only erod­ing the public’s con­fi­dence in gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions.

Large swathes of ter­ri­to­ry in Mali lie out­side of the con­trol of the gov­ern­ment, which has been grap­pling with an Islamist insur­gency that first emerged in the north in 2012.

Despite thou­sands of for­eign troops, the con­flict has spread to cen­tral Mali and neigh­bor­ing Burkina Faso and Niger.

The ethnic mosaic of cen­tral Mali has become the epi­cen­ter of the vio­lence, how­ev­er, where war­ring jihadist groups vie with Malian sol­diers and local mili­tias.

In mid-June, jihadists killed 24 soldiers when they ambushed a mil­i­tary convoy in cen­tral Mali.

That attack fol­lowed a January 26 raid by al-Qaeda-linked mil­i­tants on a mil­i­tary camp in cen­tral Mali, which killed 20 gen­darmes.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has been in power since 2013, is facing mounting pressure over the jihadist con­flict. Public anger has helped to fuel a protest move­ment insist­ing on his res­ig­na­tion.

The Defense Post source|articles

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