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Mali’s army says 23 soldiers are killed in attack in village

March 18, 2019 GMT

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali’s army says heavily armed men have attacked a camp in central Mali, killing at least 23 soldiers.

The army said Monday the attack on Sunday, which is the most deadly against the army this year, took place in the village of Dioura.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bears the mark of al-Qaida-related jihadist groups that have been regularly attacking the army and international forces in central Mali.

Mali’s army has blamed the attack on Ba Ag Moussa, a former colonel of the Malian army who deserted in 2012 to join the Tuareg rebellion before joining al-Qaida. However, this announcement by the army comes as debates are being held about integrating former rebels into the army as part of a peace agreement. Many senior Malian officers are not in favor of integration.