Six people were killed Friday in an attack on G5 Sahel joint force headquarters in Sévaré, central Mali, which also injured many people, hospital and military sources said.
“I see only six bodies, the others are injured,” said a hospital source, without further details. A military source confirmed a provisional death toll of six, suggesting the possibility of casualties.
The G5 is a taskforce of soldiers from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania created last year to root out jihadist violence in West Africa’s semi-arid Sahel region.
Mali’s defence ministry earlier confirmed that Islamist militants raided the headquarters on Friday afternoon, opening fire with rockets and guns and attempting to infiltrate the base.
Ministry spokesman Boubacar Diallo told Reuters that Malian forces were securing the site.
Violence by Islamist militants has proliferated in the sparsely-populated Sahel in recent years, with groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State using central and northern Mali as a launchpad for attacks across the region.
Western powers, including France and the United States, have provided significant funding to the G5 in a bid to beat back the jihadists. But the force has been slow to get off the ground, hobbled by delays disbursing the money and coordinating among the five countries.