At least 24 servicemen were killed and almost 30 were wounded during a special operation launched by Mali and Niger in the border area, the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) have announced, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
"In order to better track terrorists along the border, Mali and Niger launched a bilateral operation called TONGO TONGO. As part of this operation a FAMa patrol was attacked this Monday, November 18, 2019 in Tabankort in the [northeastern] Gao region," FAMa said in a statement on its official Twitter account.
According to the statement, 24 Malian servicemen were killed and 29 were wounded during the operation.
"On the enemy side, there are 17 terrorists killed, a hundred suspects apprehended by the Nigerian forces in Tiloa, and 70 motorcycles destroyed," FAMa said.
The statement did not specify which group the militants belonged to.
The border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso remain unstable with government forces struggling in their fight against local militant groups.
In August 2014, Operation Barkhane was launched by France, Mali, Burkina Faso and a number of other regional countries to combat various militant groups active in the Sahel region in Africa.