Two Malian soldiers were killed by suspected Islamists in central Mali near the border with Burkina Faso on Sunday, Malian official sources said.
“Two members of the National Guard (a component of the Malian army) were killed on Saturday in Dinangourou (central Mali), near the border with Burkina Faso by terrorists,” a Malian military source told AFP.
“The attackers were from Burkina (Faso) and might have returned to the country by now,” the source added.
Information on the attack and the death toll was confirmed by a local councilor who said it was a very fast operation by the assailants who were probably well informed.
“We must remain vigilant because the Malian and Burkinabe jihadists who are loyal to Iyad Ag Ghaly (Touareg and head of the Malian Islamist group Ansar Dine) work together to attack border areas between Mali and Burkina,” the source added.
Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda that Ansar Dine in March and April 2012 after the defeat of the army which was facing the predominantly Tuareg rebellion, first allied with the Islamists but later ousted.
The jihadists were pushed back by an international military intervention launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France, which is ongoing.
Large areas are still beyond the control of Malian and foreign forces despite the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the former rebels in May-June 2015.
Jihadist attacks concentrated in the north have expanded to the center and south of the country from 2015.