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Mali launches air strikes after militants seize village


BAMAKO, Mali — The Malian navy launched air strikes Wednesday close to a village that witnesses stated had been seized by extremists with ties to the Islamic State group.

Witnesses reported the takeover of Talataye, in Mali’s northern Gao area, on Tuesday. The event has renewed fears extremists would once more increase their attain following the Aug. 15 departure of French troops final after almost a decade of battling insurgents.

“Islamic State fighters attacked our place within the village of Talataye and our preventing unit lastly withdrew from the village,” stated Fahad Ag Almahmoud, secretary basic of GATIA, an umbrella group representing previously armed teams that signed a peace settlement with the Malian authorities.

However Almahmoud stated it’s unclear whether or not the militants management the village following the air strikes.

“Final we heard, the Islamic State fighters took management of the village all evening, however this morning there have been air strikes by the Malian military on the location. At this second, we nonetheless don’t know if they’re nonetheless within the village or if they’ve withdrawn,” he stated.

Extremist teams have previously briefly seized cities and vilages. In September 2016, al-Qaeda-linked fighters took management of the central city of Boni earlier than abandoning the city a day after the assault. Final month Islamic State-linked militants briefly took management of the city of Tessit within the Menaka area.

However some observers concern that the Malian military and its U.N. allies can be unable to maintain extremists from regaining energy with out French navy help.

In 2012, extremists seized energy in main cities throughout Mali’s north, implementing strict Islamic regulation often known as Shariah that included amputating the fingers of suspected thieves and publicly whipping ladies for sporting clothes deemed too revealing.

The extremists fled into the encompassing desert when former colonial energy France launched a navy intervention in 2013. They’ve spent the final decade attacking the Malian navy and a U.N. peacekeeping drive attempting to stabilize the nation.

Frustration with the assaults helped gasoline help for coup chief Col. Assimi Goita, who overthrew Mali’s democratically elected president two years in the past. Goita and his junta assured Malians that they’d do a greater job of beating again the insurgents. However spiraling tensions between Goita and France resulted in final month’s pullout of two,400 French troops.

Related Press author Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal contributed.

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