Gunmen attack base for EU military mission in Mali

No casualties among the mission’s personnel, which includes Irish soldiers

The attack targeted Bamako’s Nord-Sud Hotel.

The attack targeted Bamako’s Nord-Sud Hotel.

 

Gunmen have attacked a base for a European Union military training operation in Mali.

There were no casualties among the mission’s personnel at the hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako. There were three Irish soldiers in the building.

A witness said the attack targeted the Nord-Sud Hotel, headquarters for the mission of nearly 600 EU military personnel deployed to Mali to train its security forces. “The attackers tried to force through the entry and the guards posed in front of the entrance opened fire. One attacker was killed. The gunfire continued for several minutes.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Dozens of people were killed in an attack in November on Bamako’s Radisson Blu hotel claimed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The group also targeted a beach resort town in Ivory Coast earlier this month, killing 19 people.

EU Training Mission in Mali

Irish Defence Forces

“One of the assailants was killed. We are verifying the sack he was carrying, which could contain explosives,” said Colonel Salif Traor, the interior security minister. “Two suspects were arrested and are being interrogated.”

Meanwhile, Algerian troops killed six armed Islamist fighters in the country’s south-east near the Tunisian border, and captured arms and munitions, the ministry of defence said on Monday.

They were killed in El Oued, and Kalashnikov rifles, handguns and ammunition were recovered from two off-road vehicles, the ministry said in a statement.

Algeria and Tunisia cooperate in security along their frontier, where a small group of fighters from al the Qaeda-linked Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade operates in Tunisia’s Chaambi mountains.

Militants are suspected to have fled there after French troops intervened in 2013 in response to an Islamist insurgency in Mali, which borders Algeria to the north.

A war with Islamist militants killed 200,000 people in Algeria in the 1990s, since when the country has been relatively peaceful.

But Al Qaeda’s North Africa branch and Islamic State continue to operate in remote pockets of the country.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed a rocket attack on Friday on a southern Algerian gas plant operated by BP, Statoil and state energy firm Sonatrach. It caused no damage or casualties, but on Monday the two foreign companies began pulling workers out of gas sites in the country.