September 12, 2015 / 9:49 PM / in 2 years

Armed men in central Mali kill two police officers in ambush attack

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Unidentified attackers ambushed a police post in the central Mopti region of Mali on Saturday, killing two police officers standing guard, an army spokesman said.

The attack, the latest in a series in the area, may indicate that a new armed group that has emerged there still has the ability to strike despite arrests among its leaders this week.

“This afternoon at around 17:00 GMT, unidentified armed men opened fire on two police officers at the Ouekoro post in the Bankass circle,” said army spokesman Colonel Souleymane Maiga.

“The two police officers were killed,” he added.

Mali’s military said on Monday it had arrested three suspected members of a new Islamist militant group The Massina Liberation Front blamed for attacks in Mali’s center and south this year. It is led by veteran jihadist Amadou Koufa and has recruited mostly among the central Mali’s marginalized Fulani ethnic minority.

Formerly, Islamist militant groups were mostly confined to the desert north which they briefly seized in 2012. A French-led military intervention scattered them the following year, but remnants of the insurgency continue to carry out attacks in remote areas.

Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Diane Craft

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