Suspected jihadists launch jailbreak in southern Mali

According to local reports, suspected jihadist militants launched a large-scale attack on a prison in Niono, in the Segou Region of Mali. Almost 100 prisoners were released and one guard is reported to have been killed in the assault.

The regional news site Sahelien reports:

The Niono prison in the Segou region, was attacked on Tuesday December 6 at about 2 am by terrorists.

The information was confirmed by a source at the Ministry of Defense contacted by Sahelien.com. “There were about 97 prisoners [freed],” she said.

No group has yet to claim responsibility, but Ansar Dine’s Macina Battalion is widely suspected. Last month, the al Qaeda front claimed responsibility for a prison break in Banamba in the Koulikoro Region of southern Mali. That assault allowed at least 21 prisoners, many of which were suspected militants, to escape. [See Threat Matrix report, Ansar Dine claims string of attacks across Mali.]

It is unclear how many of the prisoners released today were militants. However, Ansar Dine, through al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s weekly newspaper Al Masra, has stated a goal of “liberating all detainees” held by the Malian state.

Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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