Officials have confirmed that gunmen reportedly led by militant leader Ba Ag Moussa killed at least 23 Malian soldiers in a raid on Sunday morning (local time), March 17. The assailants reportedly attacked and temporarily seized a military base in Dioura (Mopti region). Similar incidents are likely in central Mali, including Mopti region, in the near term.
Ba Ag Moussa participated in the attempted overthrow of the Malian government by Tuareg rebel groups in 2012. He has since pledged allegiance to Al-Qa'ida-affiliate Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM). Several armed groups also operate in the region - including Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) umbrella (affiliated with Al-Qa'ida), and the Islamic State - as well as pro-government militias.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite the presence of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world. Since 2013, some 170 peacekeepers have been killed in Mali.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, all those present in Mali are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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