Suspected jihadists killed two Malian soldiers in Gossi (Tombouctou region) overnight from Sunday, February 4, into Monday, February 5. According to Malian military sources, jihadists on motorbikes opened fire on the Malian National Guard soldiers in a hit-and-run attack and assaulted a local police station. Suspected militants also attacked a police station in Hombori (Mopti region) late on February 4; no associated casualties were immediately reported.
Malian authorities have banned the use of motorbikes and pick-up trucks - frequently used by jihadist during attacks - in some parts of Ségou, Mopti, and Tombouctou regions to curb militant violence. Additional jihadist militant attacks are possible in the abovementioned affected regions in the coming weeks.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds. France maintains approximately 4000 troops stationed throughout the Sahel. Additionally, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is one of the largest such UN operations in the world.
At least four people were killed by militant attacks in Mali's northern regions on February 2-3.
The security environment in Mali remains complex, particularly in the north and central regions. 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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