French na­tional among dead as tourist re­sort in Mali at­tacked

The Guardian - - INTERNATIONAL - Agen­cies Ba­mako Cam­pe­ment Kangaba in Dougourakoro, near the Malian cap­i­tal, Ba­mako, is pop­u­lar with western­ers. Last night it was blocked off and an op­er­a­tion was un­der way, an of­fi­cial said

At least two peo­ple have been killed af­ter a tourist re­sort near Ba­mako, the cap­i­tal of Mali, was at­tacked yes­ter­day. The coun­try’s se­cu­rity min­istry said that one of the dead was a French na­tional, but the na­tion­al­ity of the other per­son killed was not known.

Malian troops and sol­diers from France’s Barkhane counter-ter­ror­ism force were called to Le Cam­pe­ment in Dougourakoro, a re­sort pop­u­lar with western­ers. Res­i­dents re­ported hear­ing shots as smoke bil­lowed into the air.

“Se­cu­rity forces are in place. Cam­pe­ment Kangaba is blocked off and an op­er­a­tion is un­der way,” a se­cu­rity min­istry spokesman, Baba Cisse, said. “The sit­u­a­tion is un­der con­trol.”

Boubacar San­gare was just out­side the com­pound dur­ing the at­tack. “Western­ers were flee­ing the en­camp­ment while two plain-clothes po­lice ex­changed fire with the as­sailants,” he said. “There were four na­tional po­lice ve­hi­cles and French sol­diers in ar­moured ve­hi­cles on the scene.”

The vi­o­lence comes a week af­ter the US state depart­ment warned of pos­si­ble fu­ture at­tacks on western di­plo­matic mis­sions and other lo­ca­tions in Ba­mako that western­ers fre­quent. Mali has been bat­tling a ji­hadi in­sur­gency for sev­eral years, with Is­lamist fight­ers roam­ing the north and cen­tre of the coun­try.

In Novem­ber 2015, gun­men took guests and staff hostage at the lux­ury Radis­son Blu ho­tel in Ba­mako in a siege that left at least 20 peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing 14 for­eign­ers. That at­tack was claimed by al-Qaida in the Is­lamic Maghreb.

A state of emer­gency has been re­newed sev­eral times since the Radis­son Blu at­tack, most re­cently in April, when it was ex­tended for six months.

In 2012, Mali’s north fell un­der the con­trol of ji­hadi groups linked to AQIM that hi­jacked an eth­nic Tuareg-led rebel upris­ing, though the Is­lamists were largely ousted by a French-led mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in Jan­uary 2013. But ji­hadis have mounted nu­mer­ous at­tacks on civil­ians and the army, as well as on French and United Na­tions forces still sta­tioned there.

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