Gun­men free 21 priso­ners in sou­t­hern Ma­li to­wn

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

MA­LI - Uniden­ti­fied gun­men freed 21 priso­ners in the sou­t­hern Ma­li to­wn of Banam­ba last week­end in what Ma­li’s jus­ti­ce mi­nis­ter de­scri­bed as a “ter­ro­rist at­tack”.

Ma­ma­dou Is­mael Ko­na­te said on Mon­day the six at­tac­kers had wan­ted to re­lea­se “two ter­ro­rists” but said they had al­rea­dy been mo­ved to ano­ther to­wn. Ko­na­te said one pri­son gu­ard had go­ne mis­sing af­ter the raid but he pro­vi­ded no fur­ther de­tails. An ar­my spo­kes­man said the at­tack had oc­cur­red last week­end. It was not im­me­di­a­te­ly clear who was be­hind the at­tack but Isla­mist groups such as Ansar Di­ne ha­ve step­ped up their in­sur­g­en­cy in Ma­li this year, car­rying out mo­re than 60 at­tacks on Uni­ted Na­ti­ons and other tar­gets sin­ce May and sprea­ding south in­to are­as pre­vious­ly dee­med sa­fe. “I heard gunshots as I was get­ting rea­dy to go to bed around 2300”, said Banam­ba re­si­dent Ya­cou­ba Dou­cou­re. “La­ter I lear­ned the­re was an at­tack against the ar­my camp and the pri­son.” The at­tack on the ar­my camp could not be im­me­di­a­te­ly ve­ri­fied by Reu­ters.

A sol­dier for the UN mis­si­on known as MINUSMA was kil­led in an at­tack on a con­voy in the Mop­ti re­gi­on of cen­tral Ma­li on Sun­day, MINUSMA said in a sta­te­ment. Isla­mist groups hij­ack­ed a se­pa­ra­tist Tu­areg re­bel­li­on in 2012 to sei­ze ma­jor to­wns in Ma­li’s vast de­sert north and de­cla­re sha­ria, or Isla­mic law. For­ces from for­mer co­lo­ni­al po­wer Fran­ce dro­ve them back a year la­ter, but they ha­ve kept ba­ses in re­mo­te de­sert lo­ca­ti­ons.


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