The troops “repelled a terrorist attack in the early morning,” in the central town of Boni,” the ministry said. The army forces “killed 13 terrorists and recovered arms and munitions,” and three soldiers were killed while the attack was repelled, the statement said.
Residents in Boni told AFP that helicopters were later circling the area but that calm had returned by afternoon. Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali in early 2012, but were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
In June 2015, Mali’s government signed a peace agreement with coalitions of armed groups. But the jihadists remain active, and large tracts of the country remain lawless. Since 2015 jihadist attacks have been concentrated on central and southern Mali and have spread into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.