News Western Africa

Landmine kills five, injures 18 in Mali

BAMAKO- Five civilians were killed and a further 18 wounded in central Mali when their passenger vehicle hit a landmine, the local governor said, two weeks after 26 travellers died in a similar incident in the area.

The explosion occurred on Friday between Dera and Konna in the Mopti region, where Islamist militants stepped up attacks on civilian and military targets, said Governor Sidi Alassane Toure, blaming the attack on “terrorists”.

“We must no longer accept living under the same roof as terrorists, we must no longer accept sharing a meal with a terrorist, or living in the same village with a terrorist,” Toure said on state radio.

Militants in Mali’s restive centre and north have pledged loyalty to international groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State, the jihadists draw chiefly on local grievances against the central government and ethnic rivalries.

A UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, thousands of French troops across the Sahel region and a new regional security task force have all been unable to stem attacks, raising concerns about security for Mali’s presidential election this year.

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