Many soldiers killed in Mali after Sunni Islamists attack an armed convoy
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The ethnic and religious crisis in Mali is tearing the country apart. Only last week you had another ethnic massacre that killed many. This week it is a brutal Sunni Islamist insurgency responsible for more loss of life. Therefore, with political tensions also increasing in Mali, the crisis is spiraling.
Recently a mass demonstration against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took place in the capital. Hence another Islamist attack against an armed convoy is further evidence that insecurity and ethnic tensions are rupturing the nation-state. Likewise, rampant poverty, limited hope, and a fragile infrastructure equate to hopelessness.
In the latest Islamist attack at least 24 soldiers have been killed after a military convoy was attacked in Central Mali. Most suspect Jama’s Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) to be responsible because of past terrorist attacks in this part of Mali.
Irrespective if JNIM or ISIS (Islamic State –IS) attacked the armed forces the result is more demoralization. This notably applies to people fleeing ethnic and Islamist attacks because it highlights the severity of the crisis.
The BBC reports, “Since 2012, Malian forces have managed, with French help, to regain control of large swathes of territory taken by militants. France has 4,500 troops deployed in the region.”
However, the crisis in Burkina Faso is a growing problem because the Islamist insurgency is spreading from its former stronghold. Equally important, the remoteness of the region and weak infrastructures of regional nations – and horrendous poverty – equates to the armed forces being overstretched.
In a recent article by the Modern Tokyo Times, it was reported, “The UNHCR is calling for international support to assist people fleeing ethnic, religious, and criminal violence. This notably applies to the central Sahel and Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Equally, concerns remain for Chad and Mauritania where people are struggling desperately in parts of the country.”
Overall, the situation is bleak and the same applies to Nigeria and ethnic and religious massacres committed against Christians in this part of West Africa. Thus Niger is fearful of the spiraling Islamist insurgencies in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Mali. Therefore, a vast region already blighted by poverty is under enormous strain and one can only expect more deaths to flow.
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