Ten militants and nine soldiers have died in clashes between the Malian army and a Tuareg rebel alliance, the defence ministry said on Thursday, raising fears for the country’s fragile peace process.
The announcement came a day after fighters from the Tuareg-led Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) ambushed military positions in the central town of Lere, near the Mauritanian border.
“The provisional toll of the clashes is: armed forces — nine dead, six injured, six hostages, one damaged vehicle. Enemy side: 10 dead and 16 injured, two vehicles destroyed; one vehicle, arms and ammunition recovered,” the ministry said in a statement.
Defence Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said Lere was under control and “encourages the armed forces to fulfil their duty with determination to the service of our country”, the statement said.