Anti-Terror HQ ‘Attacked in Mali’
Gunmen in Mali have attacked the headquarters of the regional force fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel region of West Africa, witnesses say.
There was an explosion – possibly caused by a suicide bomber – at the facility in the town of Sevare in central Mali.
Local orange seller Haoussa Haidara said there was a “huge blast” followed by exchanges of gunfire, the AFP news agency reports.
Six people were killed in the attack, according to a hospital and a military source, AFP says.
A UN source in Sevare told Reuters – on condition of anonymity – that the compound was also hit by a car bomb but that gunfire had died down by mid-afternoon.
The G5 task force was set up last year and is made up of soldiers from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania.
The force, which received funding from Western powers, is also supposed to be stopping smuggling and human-trafficking networks in the Sahel.
The attack comes three days before a meeting in Mauritania between French President Emmanuel Macron and the heads of the G5 member states to discuss the progress made by the force, AFP says.
France intervened in Mali in 2013 to help government forces drive al-Qaeda-linked jihadists from towns they had occupied in the north.
A separate UN peacekeeping force then deployed to Mali to help the government control the vast desert areas in the north.