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Mali attack: ‘Two dead’ as suspected jihadists open fire on tourist resort Le Campement and ‘take hostages’

  • Suspected terrorist attack on tourist resort in Mali
  • Two dead, one of whom is French-Gabonese
  • Malian forces fighting three or four attackers
  • 32 hostages freed

Soldiers in Mali[1] are attempting to end what appeared to be a terrorist attack on a resort popular with foreigners on the outskirts of the capital, Bamako.

At least two people were killed in the attack, which began around 4:30pm at Le Campement, half an hour southeast of Bamako.[2]

“The first victim was a French-Gabonese citizen. We are in the process of confirming the other’s nationality,” said Baba Cisse, security ministry spokesman. The attackers took dozens of people hostage, with security forces in Mali saying that 32 had been freed. It was unclear how many remained in captivity. Modibo Traore, a spokesman for the Malian special forces in the former French colony, said there were three or four attackers.

The resort, popular with expats on the weekend, features a hotel and restaurant with three small swimming pools. Bicycles and kayaks can be rented, and the site includes football and volleyball pitches. A UN official said those at the resort when the attack began included people affiliated with the French military mission, as well as the UN. Mali is currently home to 1,600 French soldiers, stationed in the north of the country on the largest French military base outside of France.

I heard gunfire coming from the camp and I saw people running out of the tourist site, said Modibo Diarra, who lives nearby.

I learned that it was a terrorist attack.

Over an hour after the first reports of the incident, helicopters hovered over the site and a large black plume of smoke billowed into the sky.

Last week the US state department updated its travel advice[3] to warn its citizens of an increased threat of attack in Bamako.

“The US Embassy informs US citizens of a possible increased threat of attacks against Western diplomatic missions, places of worship, and other locations in Bamako where Westerners frequent,” they said on June 9. Americans, currently advised to avoid all travel to Mali, were told: “Avoid vulnerable locations with poor security measures in place, including hotels, restaurants, and churches.”[4]

A state department spokesman told The Telegraph that they could not say whether the updated advice was in relation to any specific threat.

US citizens in #Mali, avoid the area of Hotel Kangaba. Ongoing attack pic.twitter.com/8MOKt9T7WO[5][6]

Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 18, 2017[7]

The Foreign Office, unlike the state department, does not advise against all travel to the country instead issuing the milder advice that Britons should avoid all but essential travel to the African nation.[8]

Britons are, however, told not to go at all to the areas of Timbuktu, Kidal, Gao and Mopti, and parts of other provinces.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Mali, including kidnaps,” the Foreign Office said in its advice, updated on Saturday.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”

A Foreign Office spokesman told The Telegraph they were monitoring the situation closely. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, visited the northern city of Gao last month, at the end of his first week in office, to discuss fighting terrorism with his Malian counterpart, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. France intervened in its former colony in January 2013 to drive out al-Qaeda-linked groups that hijacked a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs, and attempted to take control of the central government in Bamako.

In November 2015 Islamist militants took 170 hostages and killed 20 of them in a mass shooting at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. Auto update

On Off 9:44PM[9]

Mali no stranger to jihadi attacks

Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, prompting the French military in 2013 to lead a military operation to oust jihadists from power in the major towns. But the militants have continued targeting Malian forces and peacekeepers, making it the deadliest UN mission in the world.

Mali Attack: 'Two Dead' As Suspected Jihadists Open Fire On Tourist Resort Le Campement And 'take Hostages'

A French foreign legion paratrooper (L) standing beside a Malian soldier near Sevare Credit: AFP

In March 2015, five people died when militants hit a popular restaurant in the capital.

A devastating attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako later that year, in November, left 20 dead – six Malians and 14 foreigners. That attack was jointly claimed by both the regional al-Qaeda affiliate and a group known as Al Mourabitoun, which was founded by Moktar Belmoktar after he fell out with al-Qaeda leaders. In a video released in March, jihadists said those two were joining together along with two Mali-based terror groups.

9:18PM[10]

“Explosions still being heard” – local journalist

#Mali: Des explosions encore devant le #Kangaba[11][12]

Mohamed Salaha (@kmsbeker) June 18, 2017[13] 9:13PM[14]

32 hostages rescued

SECURITY FORCES HAVE RESCUED 32 GUESTS FROM MALI RESORT UNDER ATTACK BY GUNMEN – SECURITY MINISTRY SPOKESMAN

9:06PM[15]

Emmanuel Macron being kept informed

Mali is home to the largest French military base outside of France, with 1,600 soldiers stationed in the north. President Emmanuel Macron travelled to Mali last month, in his first week as president.

Mali Attack: 'Two Dead' As Suspected Jihadists Open Fire On Tourist Resort Le Campement And 'take Hostages'

Emmanuel Macron, the French president

The Elys e has issued a statement:

“The president has been informed of the attack on a holiday village on the outskirts of Bamako.

“With his teams, he is following events very closely.”

8:53PM[16]

Two dead in attack

At least two people were killed in the attack, which began around 4:30pm at Le Campement, half an hour southeast of Bamako.

Baba Cisse, security ministry spokesman, said:

“The first victim was a French-Gabonese citizen. We are in the process of confirming the other’s nationality.”

8:17PM[17]

’20 hostages freed’ – local media

A spokesman for Algeria’s security ministry has told local news outlet Studio Tamani that 20 hostages have been freed.

8:08PM[18]

Avoid area, locals told

Security Message: Ongoing attack at Hotel Kangaba “Le Campement” 30 min southeast of #Bamako, #Mali. Please avoid the area pic.twitter.com/leIqP65Pmy[19][20][21]

Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 18, 2017[22] 7:58PM[23]

Hostages taken, casualties – reports

There are reports of casualties in this attack, and of hostages being taken, but there is no further detail, according to a spokesman for Mali’s UN mission

7:56PM[24]

First images of scene

Photographs of the scene show a huge armed police presence, as tourists in their swimsuits look on.

#Mali: Photos from outside Campement Kangaba showing sec forces on site incl. ‘Groupement d’intervention de la police nationale’ (GIPN) pic.twitter.com/mCYabtueyH[25][26]

MENASTREAM (@MENASTREAM) June 18, 2017[27] 7:38PM[28]

Foreign Office: Terror attacks ‘very likely in Mali’

The Foreign Office noted the updated US warning, but stopped short of advising all Britons against travel to the entire country. Instead, they are told to avoid the areas of Timbuktu, Kidal, Gao and Mopti, and parts of other provinces.

Mali Attack: 'Two Dead' As Suspected Jihadists Open Fire On Tourist Resort Le Campement And 'take Hostages'

Le Campement resort in Dougourakoro

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Mali.

“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Mali, including kidnaps,” the Foreign Office said in its advice, updated on Saturday. “Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”

7:36PM[29]

US warned of increased threat of attack in Bamako

The attack came a little over a week after the US state department warned its citizens of an increased threat of attack in Bamako. On June 9 they said: “The US Embassy informs US citizens of a possible increased threat of attacks against Western diplomatic missions, places of worship, and other locations in Bamako where Westerners frequent.”

Americans, currently advised to avoid all travel to Mali, were told: “Avoid vulnerable locations with poor security measures in place, including hotels, restaurants, and churches.”

7:28PM[30]

Gunshots started at 4.30pm

Mohamed Salaha, a journalist based in Mali, said the first shots were heard around 4:30pm local time (5:30pm UK).

“A lot of black smoke coming from the Kangaba area,” he tweeted at 6pm local time.

“Helicopters overhead. The operation continues.”

7:24PM[31]

‘Suspected jihadists’ behind attack

The government of Mali says that “suspected jihadists” are carrying out the attack.

“There is an attack by presumed jihadists on the Kangaba camp,” one official told AFP.

References

  1. ^ Mali (www.news4security.co.uk)
  2. ^ half an hour southeast of Bamako. (www.news4security.co.uk)
  3. ^ the US state department updated its travel advice (ml.usembassy.gov)
  4. ^ “Avoid vulnerable locations with poor security measures in place, including hotels, restaurants, and churches.” (ml.usembassy.gov)
  5. ^ #Mali (twitter.com)
  6. ^ pic.twitter.com/8MOKt9T7WO (t.co)
  7. ^ June 18, 2017 (twitter.com)
  8. ^ Britons should avoid all but essential travel to the African nation. (www.gov.uk)
  9. ^ 9:44PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  10. ^ 9:18PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  11. ^ #Mali (twitter.com)
  12. ^ #Kangaba (twitter.com)
  13. ^ June 18, 2017 (twitter.com)
  14. ^ 9:13PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  15. ^ 9:06PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  16. ^ 8:53PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  17. ^ 8:17PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  18. ^ 8:08PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  19. ^ #Bamako (twitter.com)
  20. ^ #Mali (twitter.com)
  21. ^ pic.twitter.com/leIqP65Pmy (t.co)
  22. ^ June 18, 2017 (twitter.com)
  23. ^ 7:58PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  24. ^ 7:56PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  25. ^ #Mali (twitter.com)
  26. ^ pic.twitter.com/mCYabtueyH (t.co)
  27. ^ June 18, 2017 (twitter.com)
  28. ^ 7:38PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  29. ^ 7:36PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  30. ^ 7:28PM (www.news4security.co.uk)
  31. ^ 7:24PM (www.news4security.co.uk)

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