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At least 54 killed in jihadist attack on army in Mali

The Malian government says at least 54 people are dead following a jihadist attack on the army in the north.

Military families say soldiers are not being adequately protected from militants

Members of the rebel alliance, the Co-ordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), left, drive past a Malian military truck in a street in Menaka, Mali on May 9, 2018, during a visit of the Malian prime minister. (Sebastien Rieussec/AFP via Getty Images)

Jihadists attacked the Malian military near the border with Niger, leaving at least 53 soldiers and one civilian dead, in the second major assault against the country's armed forces in a month, the government said Saturday.

The latest violence to target Mali's armed forces took place Friday in Indelimane, located in Mali's volatile Menaka region.

"Reinforcements have been sent to the scene and the situation is under control with the support of the French military, which is helping to evacuate the wounded," government spokesman Yaya Sangare told The Associated Press.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though jihadists with links to the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are active in the area. The assailants were believed to have fled toward the border with Niger, Sangare said.

The new violence is likely to further raise tensions in the capital, Bamako, where military families have already protested in the streets. They say that soldiers are not being given the resources on the ground that they need to confront an array of jihadist groups.

Friday's violence occured a month after 41 soldiers were killed and 20 others went missing during two attacks on Malian soldiers taking part in a regional counter-terrorism force.

The two latest attacks are among the most deadly against the Malian army since a 2013 French-led military intervention to oust the jihadists from power in the major towns of northern Mali.

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