The delivery of Russian military aircraft to Mali, which included fighter jets and a helicopter, took place on Tuesday. At a ceremony, jets designated as L-39 and Sukhoi-25, along with helicopter gunships designated as Mi-24P, were on display during a ceremony. The Minister of Defense, Sadio Camara, praised Mali’s relationship with the Russian Federation, which he described as a “win-win collaboration.”
According to him, the latest delivery “strengthens our reconnaissance and strike capabilities.” There was no information provided concerning the requirements for purchasing the gunships that was made public. The previous Russian arms exports that were made public this year included mobile radar systems, as well as helicopters and observation radars.
Mali has been ravaged by a jihadist insurgency that kicked off in the country’s north in 2012. Insurgents eventually made their way to Burkina Faso and Niger once the conflict extended further to the south. Terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda have recently exerted a significant amount of pressure on the armed forces of Mali. In July, Islamist rebels attacked the military post of Kati, which is near Mali’s capital city, Bamako, and where the president of the transitional authority lives.
Mali’s armed forces have reported that during an attack over the weekend in the country’s south, armed fighters with a suspected affiliation to the ISIL (ISIS) group murdered 17 Malian troops and four civilians. The attack took place in the southern region of the country. As a result of the attack that took place on Sunday near the town of Tessit, which is located in a strategic border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, the Malian army said in a statement on Monday that nine soldiers were also reported missing, in addition to vehicles and equipment being destroyed. The attack took place close to the town of Tessit.
It was also stated that there was “an unknown number of dead and injured carried away by the attackers” and that the death toll from the incident was provisional and likely to change. According to a statement released by the army, “On August 07, 2022, around 3 pm (15:00 GMT), the army units of Tessit responded vigorously to a complex and coordinated attack by armed terrorist groups, presumably from ISGS [Islamic State in the Greater Sahara] and benefiting from drone and artillery support.” It was also reported that at least seven of the rebels had been slain by Malian forces. According to statements made by the victims’ family to the AFP news agency, two of the deceased citizens served as elected officials in their communities.
The conflict between armed groups, some of which are affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIL, and Mali is worsening, and it has already resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more. Since 2012, the violence has spread to the center and south of the country, as well as to the nearby countries of Niger and Burkina Faso.