Mali army: the final number of dead Saturday attack reached 23 soldiers

Malian soldiers stand guard as Mali's President Dioncounda Traore speaks to French troops at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The death toll of the attack, suspected of being Islamic militants at a military base on Saturday, was 23, Mali’s army said in a statement on Monday.

Gunmen attacked a military base in the village of Dura in the central province of Mopti on Saturday and took control of it for some time. Initial estimates of the deaths of 16 soldiers.

“You are not alone,” Defense Minister Temuko Sanjari was quoted as saying as he inspected army forces in the village. All the peace-loving citizens of Mali support you.”

Violence by militant groups has worsened year after year since it first broke out in Mali in 2012 when hardline Islamists and pro-Tuareg rebels took control of the north of the country and marched towards the capital Bamako until a French-led military intervention forced them to retreat the following year.

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