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Suspected Jihadists Attack Resort Outside Mali's Capital

19 June 2017
Suspected Jihadists Attack Resort Outside Mali's Capital

At least two people were killed in an attack by gunmen on Sunday at a luxury resort outside Mali's capital Bamako that is popular with Western expatriates, the Security Ministry said.

"It is a jihadist attack". The statement said a Malian anti-terror force was on the scene. "Unfortunately for the moment there are two dead, including a Franco-Gabonese". "Campement Kangaba is blocked off and an operation is under way", Security Ministry spokesman Baba Cisse said by telephone.

Security forces battled the gunmen at the site, with nearby residents reporting hearing shots while smoke billowed into the air, with at least one building ablaze.

An unknown number of people were injured and taken to a hospital after the attack on Le Campement resort, the source said.

Mali has been fighting a jihadist insurgency for several years, with Islamist fighters active in the country's northern and central regions. "Ongoing attack at Hotel Kangaba "Le Campement" 30 min southeast of #Bamako, #Mali", the department tweeted, warning people to avoid the area.

Al-Qaida's North African affiliate, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for that attack. In March 2015, five people died when militants hit a popular restaurant in the capital.

In 2012 Mali's north fell under the control of groups linked to Al-Qaeda who hijacked an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising, though the militants were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013.

"At first we thought they were armed bandits but we know how armed bandits operate, they don't hold territory, so now we think it is a terrorist attack", Mali's Security Minister Salif Traore told journalists outside the entrance to the resort late Sunday, part of which was on fire. "The special forces have now sealed off the perimeters of the site and are in the process of securing it".

Another militant group led by the Malian jihadist Iyad Ag Ghaly, a former leader of the Ansar Dine Islamists, has also claimed multiple attacks on domestic and foreign forces since its formation - particularly against the 12,000-member United Nations force known as MINUSMA.