They fired at the gendarmes, the customs officers and the civilian truck drivers.” “Right now, we can’t confirm who the attackers were. They arrived in Kouri from two directions,” a government official said. “We were told that they took the soldiers’ boots as they left.” Kouri is a major crossing point for goods entering or leaving Mali. Mali has been embroiled in conflict since Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012 before being pushed back by French troops in 2013. A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups has failed to restore stability. Southern Mali, in particular, has been rocked by a string of attacks near the country’s border with Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. In December last year, Mali’s security service said it had arrested four suspected jihadists who had been planning attacks in the three countries. They were arrested near Koutiala, near the Burkina border, it said. The four had taken part in a double attack in the capital Ouagadougou in March 2018 and in the kidnapping of a Colombian nun, Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti near Koutiala in February 2017, the security service said.