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Mali: Siege ends in Hotel and UN base in Timbuktu

6th Feb 2016
Mali: Siege ends in Hotel and UN base in Timbuktu

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AA) – A hotel and UN base siege in Mali’s Timbuktu that left at least one soldier and four attackers dead has ended, security sources have told Anadolu Agency.

“A Malian soldier and at least four attackers died in the attack … Niang, a Malian officer who was part of the counter-offensive operation on the Minusma base [UN peacekeeping force in Mali] died as a result of a false maneuver with his tank,” a Malian security source told Anadolu Agency.

“There have also been several wounded, including two civilians, and extensive damage,” said the source, who requested anonymity, not being authorized to speak to the media.

On Friday morning, unidentified gunmen attacked a UN base in Timbuktu, northern Mali and stormed a hotel that houses UN staff.

The La Palmeraie hotel in Timbuktu houses the Nigerian contingent of UN peacekeepers in the country’s northern region, eyewitnesses said.

The area was immediately crisscrossed by peacekeepers and Malian soldiers who were able to finally dislodge the attackers in the hotel.

Shortly before the gunfire erupted, a loud explosion, believed to be a car bomb, was heard near a checkpoint in the city, which is controlled by UN troops and the Malian army.

Recent months have seen sporadic militant attacks on UN peacekeepers and Malian army personnel.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for recent attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso that left dozens dead.

The group is among a number of militant organizations active in northern Mali, where French and Malian troops are conducting counter-terrorism operations.

 

Author Felix Nkambeh Tih,Hatice Kesgin

 

[Photo: Festival in Timbuktu, Mali. Photographer: Alfred Weidinger/Creative Commons]

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