During an attack on Thursday, Islamist militants targeted a river boat in Mali’s north-eastern region, killing at least 49 civilians and 15 soldiers, as well as around 50 militants.
In a statement read on nationaldeath toll had been reached, adding that many more had been wounded.
Insurgents attacked a boat carrying civilians across the flooded plains thatand Mopti during the rainy season. The vessel was travelling from Gao when it was assailants also attacked a military camp in the Bourem Circle, an administrative subdivision of the Gao region in Mali’s northeast.
The northern city of Timbuktu has been under blockademonth, and there have been several other recent attacks on transport.
On social media, the Malian army claimed that “armed terrorist groups” had attacked the boat around 11 p.m.
The boat operator, Comanav, told AFP news agency that the vessel had been targeted by at least three rockets aimed at itsimmobilised on the river, and the army passengers, said a Comanav official.
Mali’s military authorities have ordered French troops and UN peacekeepers out of the country and invited Russian contractors to replace them.
An insurgency with links to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State took root in2012. Islamist militants have since gained ground, spreading across the Sahel region, especially to Burkina Faso and Niger.