At least 27 Malian soldiers were killed, 33 wounded and seven are missing following an attack by insurgents on a security post in the Mopti region in central Mali, the government said late Friday.
Insurgents with car bombs attacked the Mondoro security post in the circle of Douentza at around 5.30 a.m., said Territorial Administration and Decentralization Minister Col. Abdoulaye Maiga.
A total of 21 soldiers were seriously wounded and 47 terrorists were neutralized, it said.
The government reassured citizens that efforts are underway to arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators.
“The Malian armed forces remain faithful to their commitments to restore peace and tranquility throughout the national territory. The ultimate sacrifice made by the sons of the nation will not remain in vain,” it said.
Since 2012, Mali has been battling violence orchestrated by militants in northern and central Mali, targeting soldiers and civilians.
Last month, European leaders announced a withdrawal of forces deployed in Mali as part of a counterterrorism mission, citing obstructions by Mali transitional authorities.
The soldiers were helping Mali and West Africa Sahel neighbors Burkina Faso and Niger tackle an insurgency linked to the al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS terror groups who have created havoc in the tri-border area.
The Mali Presidency announced that three days of national mourning have been declared starting at midnight on March 5.