BAMAKO – As Mali began three days of mourning Monday for 54 people killed in a militant attack last week, locals expressed fear about a surge in violence and some analysts called for stepped-up military intelligence and collaboration.
“We can’t stay idle every day when people attack our camps, kill tens or even hundreds of our soldiers,” activist Dr. Abdoul Kane Diallo said of Friday’s assault on a northeastern military outpost.
He was indignant because, though authorities were alerted immediately of the daytime assault, “no reinforcements came, which is very surprising.”
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to local sources, militants had infiltrated the area at least several days in advance. On Friday, they allegedly commandeered a Malian military supply truck, killing its driver and substituting one of their own. Then they loaded the truck with explosives and drove it into the camp. Unsuspecting soldiers let in the familiar truck, accounting for the high number of casualties.
Yaya Sangare, Mali’s communications minister, said 10 troops survived the attack.
Call for collaboration
Political activist Fatagoma Togola called for better cooperation among intelligence teams representing Mali, France’s anti-terrorist Operation Barkhane and MINUSMA, the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
“Military intelligence and state security forces must cooperate and considerably expand their activities throughout Mali, especially in the north,” Togola said.
Diallo said civilians should collaborate with Mali’s military against terrorists.
“It’s high time people mobilized,” he told VOA. “We should not wait and allow everything to be destroyed.”
Insecurity has grown in recent months in Mali’s midsection and Burkina Faso’s northern region, with jihadists attacking schools and warning teachers not to provide Western-style instruction.
In September, nearly 40 soldiers were killed in two separate jihadist attacks on two military bases.
Source: Voice of America