Al-Qaeda affiliate claims deadly Mali car bombing that killed 60 people

Published January 19th, 2017 - 07:00 GMT
Soldiers attend to wounded and casualties in the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack who ripped through a camp grouping former rebels and pro-government militia in troubled northern Mali left 40 people dead on January 18, 2017 in Gao. (AFP/Stringer)
Soldiers attend to wounded and casualties in the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack who ripped through a camp grouping former rebels and pro-government militia in troubled northern Mali left 40 people dead on January 18, 2017 in Gao. (AFP/Stringer)

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that killed at least 60 people at a military camp in the northern Malian city of Gao on Wednesday, according to a website that monitors jihadist organizations.

The statement, from al-Qaeda's north African affiliate, was recorded by Site Intelligence Group on Wednesday. The website also said that the extremist group claimed 80 soldiers had died in the blast.

Earlier, Mali's president Ibrahim Boubacar had said 60 people had died in the bombing.

Boubacar said a further 115 people had also been injured. Five suicide bombers were also among the dead, according to government spokesman Mountaga Tall.

A vehicle loaded with explosives blew up just as troops had gathered together, said Abdedoula El Kader Toure from the vigilante group Association des Jeunes Patriotes de Gao.

The vehicle was painted with army colors to allow it to pass unnoticed by security guards, according to army sources.

"The hospital is full. Dismembered corpses can be seen everywhere," local resident Arboncana Maiga said.

The Malian presidency said on Twitter that Defence Minister Abdoulaye Maiga was travelling to Gao and that the government had decreed three days of mourning.

The military camp houses government soldiers and members of armed groups, who stage joint patrols in the framework of a 2015 peace agreement.

A French military intervention in January 2013 turned back a jihadist and separatist insurgency in Mali's north, but various Islamist groups still stage attacks.

French President Francois Hollande, who attended a Franco-African summit in Mali's capital Bamako on Saturday, condemned the attack and reiterated France's support in implementing peace and reconciliation agreements in Mali.

The German Foreign Ministry said the attack was aimed at sabotaging the peace process in Mali.


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