BAMAKO, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Five gendarmes were killed and four were injured when a convoy they were escorting to an Australian-owned gold mine in southern Mali came under attack by militants, the army said.
The al Qaeda-linked Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, Menastream, a risk consultancy group that monitors jihadist activity across the Sahel region, reported on Wednesday.
Armed attacks by Islamist militants and other groups are common across vast swathes of Mali and its neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger, despite a heavy presence of international troops. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced.
Mali’s army said in a statement that the convoy had been attacked by “terrorists” along a stretch of road between the towns of Sebabougou and Kwala, 188 kilometres (117 miles) from the capital Bamako.
A local supplier had hired the convoy to deliver equipment to the Morila Gold Mine, which Australian lithium miner Firefinch (FFX.AX) acquired last year from AngloGold Ashanti (ANGJ.J) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), Firefinch’s managing director told Reuters on Wednesday.
“We only have limited details at this early stage but we can confirm the convoy was transporting a supplier’s equipment to Morila,” Managing Director Michael Anderson said in an email.
At least 37 people were killed when gunmen in Burkina Faso ambushed a convoy from Canadian miner Semafo in 2019.
Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo, Helen Reid and David Lewis;
Writing by Cooper Inveen;
Editing by Gareth Jones
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