Bomb kills at least 50 in Gao, Mali

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A vehicle packed with explosives was detonated this morning in Gao, Mali. At least fifty died.

File photo of French troops arriving in Mali during the 2013 intervention.
Image: Senior Airman James Richardson (US Air Force).

The bombing targeted a camp housing government soldiers and rebels, some of whom were in a meeting at the time. Northern Mali was seized by Islamic militants in 2012, with France leading a military intervention the following year. The camp was formed as part of a disputed ceasefire.

Occasional attacks continue, and the latest is the worst in years. French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux called the attack "highly symbolic". French President François Hollande visited the scene last week.

Victims included people tasked with providing patrols, part of a United Nations-backed move to quell the violence. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took to Twitter today to declare three days of mourning. His government stands accused by Human Rights Watch of not taking adequate measures to protect the nation's citizens.

The government says the dead include five suicide bombers. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed a single bomber from affiliate group al-Mourabitoun conducted the attack.