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Mali's army on Thursday said three soldiers and three "terrorists" died following simultaneous early morning attacks in several towns in the country's centre and west, adding to a growing list of deadly incidents since last week.
In a statement, the military blamed Al-Qaeda-affiliated Macina Katiba jihadists for the attacks, which it said took place in and around the towns of Douentza, Koro, Sevare, Bapho, Segou and Kolokani.
It said one soldier and three terrorists were killed after a vehicle exploded in Douentza at 6:30 am (local and GMT), followed by gunfire.
In Kolokani, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of the capital Bamako, "complex and simultaneous attacks targeted the detachment of the Anti-Terrorist Force and the Territorial Brigade of the Gendarmerie" at around 0530 GMT, killing two Malian soldiers and wounding three others, the army said.
In Koro, a vehicle exploded at around 0515 GMT, leaving no casualties.
Shells were fired at military compounds in Segou and Bapho, causing no casualties, while another vehicle was found in Mopti near the town of Sevare packed with explosives but successfully destroyed without causing damage, the army said.
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A string of victories claimed
Earlier Thursday, the army announced it had "neutralised" 48 "terrorists" during several operations carried out between July 14 and 18 in the centre and east of the Sahel country.
In central Mali, "six terrorists (were) neutralised" in heavy fighting in the commune of Mondoro following an attack on a military patrol on July 14, the army said in a statement.
It also said it "neutralised" two "armed terrorist groups" the same day in the Sokolo area, and seven other "terrorists" in the communes of Kolongo, Niaro and Pogo.
By the end of operations on July 18, it said, it had neutralised two "terrorists" in the commune of Timissa, eight in the village of Tiemaba and seven in Gnawouro.
Elsewhere, "18 terrorists" suffered the same fate on the stretch of road linking the central town of Douentza with the city of Gao, in the east, according to the statement.
Thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in a jihadist campaign that began in northern Mali in 2012 and later spread to Niger and Burkina Faso.
Malian colonels angry at the government's handling of the insurgency seized power in August 2020 and carried out another coup in May 2021.
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