Suspected Islamist militants attacked and seized control of an army base in the central Malian town of Nampala on Tuesday, the deputy mayor of a nearby town has said. “The army is regrouping in Diabaly and is preparing counter attack to retake the base, which fell into the hands of the assailants,’’ the deputy mayor of Diabaly, Ousmane Diallo, told newsmen. Malian officials said they had no information on the number of casualties. French forces intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive back Islamist fighters who had hijacked a Tuareg uprising to take over the northern part of the country.
However in spite of the presence of an 11,000-strong peacekeeping force, militants have reorganised and continued to launch attacks across Mali and the wider West Africa region. Army spokesman Souleymane Maiga said armed men in four-wheel drive vehicles and on motorcycles attacked Malian forces at several positions in Nampala at around 5:00 am (0500 GMT). “Apparently the attackers are Islamists supported by certain armed groups,’’ Maiga said, adding that the situation was now calm. Maiga however declined comment on who now controlled the base.