Mali’s military abandons isolated outposts amid attacks

Mali’s military abandons isolated outposts amid wave of deadly extremist attacks

BAMAKO, Mali -- Mali’s military has abandoned some of its most isolated outposts in the desert north while extremist attacks have killed more than 100 soldiers in just six weeks.

The West African nation’s president is facing a decline in military morale, a sentiment that helped spark a coup against his predecessor in 2012 amid an uprising that saw separatists and Islamic fighters take over large swaths of the north.

Some also are angry at a French military presence.

Mali’s president has pledged “improved conditions for our men,” saying troops will take a more offensive role.

The extremists add to their weapons stockpile with each raid. Fighters linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have published images on social media of their spoils of war including automatic weapons, motorcycles and other vehicles.