NEWS COVER
Africa

Mali: Dozens Dead After Military Convoy Ambushed

Personnel involved in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali helped wounded soldiers following the attack.

NEWS COVER

At least 33 people have died after an ambush on a Malian military convoy in the north of the country.

More than a dozen others were wounded in the attack, near Tassit.

About 100 suspected Islamic extremists on motorcycles intercepted the vehicles about 37 miles south-east of Ansongo, in the volatile Gao region, according to officials.

Officials say it is the deadliest attack of its kind since the president was overthrown in a coup last year.

The Mali military said the wounded soldiers were helped by personnel involved in the UN peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali).

Hundreds of British soldiers are deployed to Mali on MINUSMA peacekeeping operations which is often referred to as the most dangerous UN mission.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "We are aware of an incident in Mali and can confirm that no UK personnel were involved and all are safe and accounted for.

"It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

RAF Chinooks are deployed to Mali in support of the French-led Operation Barkhane (Picture: RAF).

Helicopters from the separate French-led Operation Barkhane helped forces secure the area in the aftermath of the attack, according to a statement.

Royal Air Force helicopters are deployed to Mali as part of the Barkhane counter-insurgency mission, with British aircraft and personnel supporting French forces.

Last week, it was announced a new UK National Component Commander had taken command of the RAF Chinook detachment on the mission.

Extremists have extended their reach well into the centre of Mali, where their presence has inflamed tensions between ethnic communities.

Democratically elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to step down last August after mutinous soldiers circled his house and fired into the air.

Under international pressure, the junta that had seized power appointed a civilian-led government to lead the country through an 18-month transition to new elections.