Sus­pected ji­hadists at­tack spa in Mali’s cap­i­tal, 2 dead

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

BA­MAKO (AP): SUS­PECTED JI­HADISTS at­tacked a ho­tel re­sort yes­ter­day in Mali’s cap­i­tal, tak­ing hostages at a spot pop­u­lar with for­eign­ers on the week­ends. About 30 peo­ple man­aged to es­cape though at least two peo­ple were killed as the as­sault con­tin­ued into the evening, author­i­ties said.

Gun­fire first rang out at the Cam­pe­ment Kangaba on the out­skirts of Ba­mako in the late af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to a se­cu­rity of­fi­cial with the U.N. mis­sion known as MINUSMA. The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to talk to re­porters.

“I heard gun­fire com­ing from the camp and I saw peo­ple run­ning out of the site,” said Modibo Diarra, who lives nearby. “I learned that it was a ter­ror­ist at­tack.”

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.

“The op­er­a­tion is on­go­ing,” he said, es­ti­mat­ing there were three or four as­sailants.

Mali’s se­cu­rity min­is­ter later is­sued a state­ment con­firm­ing at least two deaths, one of which was a dual French-Gabonese cit­i­zen. One of the sus­pected at­tack­ers who was wounded in the at­tack man­aged to es­cape, the min­istry added.

As night fell, wit­nesses saw smoke ris­ing from the Cam­pe­ment Kangaba, which fea­tures three swim­ming pools and is a pop­u­lar es­cape from the Malian heat. It was not im­me­di­ately clear what was burn­ing, although ji­hadists in other at­tacks have set cars ablaze.

NO CLAIM OF RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY

There was no im­me­di­ate claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, which came amid the fi­nal week of the Mus­lim holy month of Ra­madan. In pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim Mali, peo­ple have been fast­ing from sun­rise to sun­down for three weeks.

Sun­day’s vi­o­lence came about a week af­ter the U.S. State Depart­ment warned of pos­si­ble at­tacks on Western diplo­matic mis­sions and other lo­ca­tions in Ba­mako that Western­ers fre­quent.

The UN of­fi­cial said those at the re­sort when the at­tack be­gan in­cluded peo­ple af­fil­i­ated with the French mil­i­tary mis­sion as well as the UN and Euro­pean Union mis­sions in the coun­try.

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. But the mil­i­tants have con­tin­ued tar­get­ing Malian forces and peace­keep­ers, mak­ing it the dead­li­est UN mis­sion in the world.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.