Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Mali tourist resort under attack from gunmen

Kenny Thornton | 19 June, 2017, 15:39

Mali's security minister says at least two people are dead after suspected jihadists attacked a popular resort on the outskirts of the capital.

Gunmen attacked the Campement Kangaba luxury resort in Dougourakoro, near the capital, Bamako, on Sunday afternoon, though the security operation is still under way, Reuters reports.

But jihadists have mounted numerous attacks on civilians and the army, as well as on French and United Nations forces still stationed there.

Malian soldiers later succeeded in entering the resort area, according to Commandant Modibo Traore, a spokesman for the Malian special forces in the former French colony.

Several people rescued at Kangaba said assailants had shouted "Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest)", although no group has yet claimed responsibility.

"We're now in the process of combing the area to verify no one is hiding anywhere", Traore said. "Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is under way", Cisse said by telephone earlier.

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Four assailants were killed by security forces, Mali's security minister said late yesterday, without specifying if more were on the run.

Eyewitnesses, however, told Anadolu Agency that more than seven people were killed in the attack, including three civilians and one Malian soldier. "Avoid vulnerable locations with poor security measures in place, including hotels, restaurants and churches", the warning said. He said there are no French troops based in Bamako, but about 2,000 French troops based in northern Mali fighting Islamic extremists. "I don't know why it would be a tourist attraction in that country, but there hasn't been much jihadist activity in recent times. people go underground, and then they wait for an opportunity, when the coast is clear, or at least they perceive it to be clear". Some 20 people were killed in that attack, including 14 foreigners.

That attack was jointly claimed by both the regional al-Qaida affiliate and a group known as Al Mourabitoun, which was founded by Moktar Belmoktar after he fell out with al-Qaida leaders.

It has been targeted constantly by jihadists, with dozens of peacekeepers killed, including five on Saturday.

Mali has been gripped by violence since ethnic Tuareg rebels began an insurgency in the north of the country and joined forces with Islamist militants in 2012.

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