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Malian policeman killed in overnight attack

A policeman was killed Monday in an overnight attack in western Mali, the country’s security minister said, in fresh violence to hit the war-torn Sahel state.

Armed men attacked a gendarmerie post at Diema near the border with Mauritania, Security Minister Salif Traore said.

A gendarme — a member of a police force under military control — was killed.

Traore added that security forces fought off the attack and the bodies of two assailants had been discovered.

Mali government spokesman Yaya Sangare said on social media that authorities dispatched special forces troops who repulsed the attack. The government also sent warplanes to the area, he added.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the assault.

Last month, a toll station in Diema, which lies on the major trading road between Senegal and Mali, was attacked. Two civilians were killed.

Mali has been struggling to quell an Islamist insurgency that erupted in the north in 2012 and has since claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.

The conflict has spread to central Mali, as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, but the west of the country has so far been largely spared.

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