French national among dead as tourist resort in Mali attacked
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.