27 July 2016
Malian forces have arrested, Mahmoud Barry, leader of an Islamist group Ansar Deen, in central Mali, after it claimed an attack that killed 17 soldiers in the region.
Army spokesman, Modibo Traore, said in Bamako on Wednesday that Ansar Deen laid claim to the attack by gunmen who fired on troop positions last week, burned buildings and pillaged shops.
The attack killed 17 Malian soldiers and wounded 35 at an army base in the central town of Nampala.
He said State Security Services arrested the commander, Barry, nicknamed “Abou Yehiya’’ as he was travelling on a road between Nampala and Dogofri.
Traore said that Barry was also the mastermind of an attack on the town of Nara that killed 12 persons.
French forces intervened to push back Islamist fighters who hijacked a Tuareg uprising to take over northern Mali in 2013.
In spite of the 11,000 United Nations peacekeepers deployed in the country, insecurity has worsened and militants still launch frequent attacks across the vast desert country and its neighbours.