Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

2 dead in suspected jihadist attack on Mali spa

At least two people have been killed after an attack on a popular tourist resort on the outskirts of Mali's capital, Bamako, according to officials, but dozens of guests were rescued.

Mali's Ministry of Security and Civil Protection said in a statement that "armed individuals - certainly terrorists" attacked the Le Campement resort, noting that a Malian anti-terror force was on the scene.

French troops and a 10,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force have battled to stabilize Mali, a former French colony riven by ethnic conflict and plagued by dozens of armed groups.

"The operation is ongoing and we estimate that there are between three and four assailants", he said.

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At least two people have been killed in the violence, the ministry says, adding that a civilian and a member of the security forces have also been wounded.

Forces pursued and killed the fourth attacker, who had initially escaped, said Salif Traore. The security minister spoke to AFP and said that it is a jihadist attack. It was extended for a further six months in April. French troops posted in Mali is also defending the attack.

A week ago the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs warned of possible attacks on Western diplomatic missions or other locations visited by westerners in Bamako.

Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, prompting the French military in 2013 to lead a military operation to oust jihadis from power in the major towns in the north. Five terrorists were killed.

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The European Union Training Mission in Mali said in a tweet that they were aware of the attack and responding alongside Malian Security Forces.

An official in Macron's office said the president has been informed about the attack and he and his teams are following the evolving events.

It's the second time Islamist militants carry out an attack on a hotel in the capital, after gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu in November 2015, killing more than 20 people.

The latest alliance to form is Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims or al-Qaeda in Mali), which incorporates al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Mourabitoun, Ansar Dine and the Macina Liberation Front. The Associated Press reported hostages were taken in the hotel.

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