News / Africa

    Ban Condemns 'Intolerable' Attack on UN Camp in Mali

    Health officials stand outside La Terrasse restaurant where militants killed five people, including a French citizen and a Belgian citizen, in a gun attack in Bamako, March 7, 2015.
    Health officials stand outside La Terrasse restaurant where militants killed five people, including a French citizen and a Belgian citizen, in a gun attack in Bamako, March 7, 2015.
    VOA News

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned an attack Sunday on a U.N. base camp in northern Mali that killed three people and wounded 12 others.

    Ban said in a statement late Sunday that the killing of a peacekeeper and civilians in Mali is an "intolerable breach of international humanitarian law."

    "This flagrant attempt to obstruct progress at a crucial moment in the Malian peace process is reprehensible," he said.

    The U.N. said the attack involved more than 30 rockets fired on the MINUSMA (U.N. Mali peacekeeping force) compound in Kidal. Shells also struck a nearby encampment for Arab nomads, where two children died.

    Officials said MINUSMA forces immediately returned fire from the camp in retaliation.

    It was not immediately clear who is responsible for the attack early Sunday.

    The attack came a day after gunmen killed at least five people and wounded several others in an attack on a restaurant in Mali's capital, Bamako.  

    The attack Saturday on La Terrasse restaurant took place in the early morning hours.  A hooded gunman ran into the restaurant and opened fire on guests then got into a vehicle where another was waiting and they sped away, police said.

    Two people were detained shortly afterwards, but police could not confirm that they were linked to the attack.

    Three Malians, a French national and a Belgian were killed. The restaurant is in a Bamako neighborhood popular with expatriates.

    The Islamist group al-Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    French President Francois Hollande denounced the attack as a "cowardly act" and said that security has been stepped up at the French embassy and other French installations in Mali, a former French colony. President Hollande will meet with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to show his sympathy and France's support.

    France has helped wrest control of Mali's northern territory from separatist rebels and al Qaida-linked fighters.  It still has about 3,000 troops there. Mali's government signed a preliminary peace deal recently with some of the country's northern separatist groups, but the main Tuareg rebel alliance asked for more time for consultations before agreeing to the accord. 

    The region remains plagued by violence, but Bamako, in the south, has been largely peaceful.

    In a separate incident in northern Mali, an angry mob lynched and burned two suspected bombers in the town of Gao Saturday, security sources said.  The suspects were planning to set off bombs remotely when they were surprised by Gao residents who reportedly would not be stopped.

    'Resolve to fight terrorism'

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is visiting Paris, called the attack in Bamako a "horrific" and "cowardly" act of terrorism. He added that the act of opening fire on a restaurant filled with innocent civilians "only strengthens our resolve to fight terrorism in all of its forms, wherever it exists."

    Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also condemned the attack.

     

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