Mali holds funeral for 30 soldiers killed by extremists

November 20, 2019

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali held a funeral for the 30 soldiers killed this week during an attack on an army patrol by extremists near the border with Niger.

The Defense Ministry held the ceremony Wednesday in the city of Gao.

Col. Maj. Diarran Kone, Mali army spokesman, says the toll has risen from 24 to 30 dead from the Monday attack. The assault happened in Tabankort in the northeastern Gao region while soldiers from Mali and Niger were carrying out a joint operation to track extremists.

Women held demonstrations in Gao and Sikasso in the south on Wednesday to pressure the government to better protect soldiers.

More than 100 Malian soldiers have died in the past two months in attacks by armed groups linked to organizations such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.