A series of coordinated attacks by militants in the central Mali town of Sevare killed at least 31 people on Monday, a local authority in the town said.
The attacks come after days of violence across the country, in which at least 17 people have been killed. Many were members of pro-government militias who fought off a militant assault on Bambari, in northeast Mali, in recent days.
The attacks in Sevare were carried out in multiple locations, including a government and military building, and are the deadliest so far this year.
“In total, 31 people were killed and 21 people were wounded,” local government secretary Ahlam Ould Boumerdiene said by telephone. “The death toll could increase as some of the wounded were taken to a hospital in Segou in far north.”
The attack began at around 1:30 a.m. local time, when militants used guns and explosive belts to seize hostages, the official said. A pre-dawn operation by the Malian army also killed at least six attackers, he said.
The militants took guns and explosives from a detention center, apparently at random, before opening fire in the building.
Attacks on Malian forces and state institutions are common, but several people have died in attacks on towns in Sevare. In October, the town was briefly occupied by a militant group but freed in a military raid.
In March, jihadists attacked two military positions in the town, leading to the deaths of at least 18 people.