French officials confirmed on Saturday, September 5, that two army soldiers were killed in the Tessalit Cercle (Kidal region) area by an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on their armored vehicle. A third soldier was reportedly seriously wounded in the attack. The soldiers were part of Operation Barkhane, part of a 5100-strong French contingent operating across multiple countries of the Sahel region. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Similar attacks are possible in northern Mali over the near term.
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, and a French-led intervention launched in 2013.
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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