Militants attack the main military base in Mali and the situation is ‘under control’

KATE, Mali (Reuters) – Islamist militants bombed Mali’s main military base, just outside the capital, Bamako, on Friday in a complex attack using car bombs, but the armed forces said they repelled the attack and brought the situation under control. .

Militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have repeatedly raided bases across Mali during a decade-long insurgency that has focused in the north and center but not too close to Bamako in the south.

Heavy gunfire rang out for about an hour early Friday morning in Kati camp, about 15 kilometers northwest of Bamako. A Reuters reporter said that a convoy carrying the leader of the junta in Mali, Colonel Asimi Gueta, later set off from his home in Kati towards Bamako.

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The army said in a statement that the attack included two car bombs and was carried out by the Macina Brigade, the local branch of al-Qaeda that is active in central Mali.

It added that a soldier was killed in the attack and six wounded, while seven attackers were killed and eight arrested.

“The military staff wants to reassure the population that the situation is under control and that they can carry out their activities,” the army said.

Witnesses told Reuters that after the attack, soldiers shot and killed a man outside the camp when his car did not respond to their orders to stop. They said the other person in the car ran away.

The military also blamed Catiba Macina for several attacks Thursday on bases in central Mali that it said killed a soldier and wounded 15.

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Katy was the site of mutinies in 2012 and 2020 that led to successful coups, but camp residents told Reuters the soldiers did not appear to be fighting among themselves this time.

Mali’s ruling military junta came to power in an August 2020 coup. It launched a second coup in 2021 to oust an interim civilian president who was at odds with Guetta.

The transitional government of Guetta has repeatedly engaged with neighboring countries and international powers over the postponement of elections, alleged violations of the military, and cooperation with Russian mercenaries in fighting the Islamist insurgency.

Despite coming to power and pledging to stamp out the rebellion, the junta was unable to prevent the rebels from expanding their operations southward.

Last week, unidentified gunmen killed six people at a checkpoint 70 km east of Bamako. Read more

The only major attack to hit Bamako occurred in 2015 when al Qaeda-linked militants killed 20 people in a luxury hotel.

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(Reporting by Vadimata Kontau) Reporting and additional writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Edmund Blair, John Stonestreet and Nick McPhee

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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