An armed group in Mali affiliated with al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the country’s main military base near the capital, which it said was a response to governmental collaboration with Russian mercenaries.
The Katiba Macina claimed the attack in the strategic garrison town near the Malian capital, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a monitor which authenticated a statement from the group on Saturday.
Friday’s raid on the Kati base 15 kilometres (nine miles) outside Bamako killed at least one soldier and was the first time in Mali’s decade-long rebellion that an armed group has hit a military camp so close to Bamako.
Six people were wounded in the raid, which was carried out using two car bombs, while seven assailants were killed and eight were arrested, Mali’s military said.
The media unit for al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), said in a statement its Katiba Macina branch had carried out the attack, according to a translation by SITE.
JNIM, the main armed alliance in the Sahel region whose influence on the ground continues to expand, comprises a myriad of groups including the Katiba Macina and operates mainly in Mali and Burkina Faso.
The group has been present in Mali since early 2021, according to Western diplomats.