Mali has been trying to contain an Islamic extremist insurgency since 2012.
Islamic extremist rebels were forced from power in Mali’s northern cities with the help of a French-led military operation in 2013. However, the insurgents quickly regrouped in the desert and began launching frequent attacks on the Malian army and its allies fighting the insurgency.
The extremists have expanded their reach well into central Mali, where their presence has inflamed tensions between ethnic groups in the area.
Haq said U.N. peacekeeping helicopters and other assets dispersed armed combatants over the weekend before they were able to launch an attack in Bandiougou, in central Mali.