Mali Islamists push fighting beyond conflict-hit north

A new Islamist push into central and southern Mali is being led by two charismatic leaders of a new Islamist armed group who cut their teeth in the country’s northern conflict, according to security sources.

In the latest of a series of attacks outside the West African nation’s traditional theatre of combat, two policemen and two civilians were killed on Saturday in the village of Bi, near the south-east border with Burkina Faso.

Investigators blamed the Macina Liberation Front (FLM), a new group that emerged earlier this year and has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, some targeting security forces in central Mali.