Five Malian soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Alatona (Ségou region), near the border with Mauritania, on Monday, January 6. The soldiers were reportedly traveling in a refueling truck from the town of Diabaly when they ran over the homemade bomb on Monday morning (local time). Suspected jihadist militants in cars and on motorbikes then opened fire on the soldiers. Operations to neutralize the attackers are underway as of Monday evening, according to a government spokesman.
Similar attacks are possible in Alatona region over the near term.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds. France maintains approximately 4500 troops stationed throughout the Sahel.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, all those present in Mali are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.