At least two people have been killed with five others injured after a mortar was used on the besieged city of Timbuktu in Mali. Tens of thousands of people in Timbuktu have been under siege for the past month and a half by the al Qaeda-linked Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), reportedly causing food scarcity. Mali’s military took over the country in 2020, saying the previous government had failed to handle the fighting. It promised to end the attacks, which began ten years ago, but they have more than doubled in frequency in recent months. On the orders of the military, last month the United Nations’ Department of Peace Operations withdrew 17,000 peacekeepers who had been in the country since the assaults began. The GSIM has disrupted the West African region, most notably Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, leading the military in all three countries seize power in coups.
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