Suspected jihadists attack resort outside Mali's capital

Elias Hubbard
June 19, 2017

At least two people are reported dead and an unknown number of hostages taken as a tourist resort popular with Westerners in the Malian capital came under attack Sunday afternoon.

One of victims killed in the attack was a French-Gabonese citizen, while the other has not yet been identified, Traore said.

Two others had been wounded, one civilian and a policeman, Baba Cisse, spokesman for the security ministry, told the Reuters news agency.

The assault on the Kangaba Le Campement resort comes after a similar strike less than two years ago on a luxury hotel in Bamako, which lies in the south of the troubled country.

A security ministry official said government troops "have sealed off the area and are in the process of organising operations" against the attackers. Local residents reported hearing shots fired and people fleeing as smoke billowed into the air.

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque, reporting from neighbouring Senegal, quoted sources as saying that security forces have be going door-to-door inside the resort, making sure that the fighters are apprehended or driven out.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is scheduled to visit Bamako on July 2 for a meeting with five Sahel countries, "is following the situation very closely", the presidency told AFP yesterday.

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

"They [the armed men] exchanged gunshots with members of the special anti-terrorist force (FORSAT) who had arrived just a few minutes after the attack". He estimated there were three or four assailants.

Late past year, the U.S. State Department also warned U.S. citizens against traveling to Mali "because of ongoing terrorist attacks and criminal violence".

Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, prompting the French military in 2013 to lead a military operation to oust jihadists from power in the major towns in the north.

The rural resort sits on the outskirts of Bamako, where the Radisson Blu hotel was the target of a previous terror attack that left more than 20 people dead in November 2015.

It's the second deadly attack in the West African country in as many days.

The attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

A spokesman for French forces in Mali declined to immediately comment.

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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