BAMAKO, Mali – A car loaded with explosives detonated at the headquarters of a new West African anti-terror force in Mali, triggering a shootout in which two soldiers were killed, a civilian and two assailants, Officials said the Associated Press on Friday.
The attack underscored the impudence of the extremist threat in part of the world that made headlines in October with the killing of four US service members in an ambush neighboring Niger
The Commander of the Armed Forces, General Didier Dacko, affirmed The Friday attack by phone from Niger and said it was "in progress while I talk to you." Residents said the explosion shook the municipality of Sevare near the town of Mopti. 19659007] In addition to the deaths, two other assailants were captured, G5 Sahel spokesman Abdoul Salam Diagana told the AP. Four soldiers, three alleged attackers and one civilian were injured, Dr. Djibril Kassogue from Sevare Hospital. "The lives of the injured are not in danger," he said.
This is the first time that the headquarters of the G5 Sahel has been targeted. The attack will take place shortly before the meeting of French President Emmanuel Macron and African leaders at an African Union summit in Mauritania on Sunday, with the regional extremist threat on the agenda.
There was no immediate information about the identity of the attackers. A number of extremist groups affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State Group are active in Mali, often targeting local security forces and the world's deadliest active peacekeeping mission. In the capitals of Mali and Burkina Faso, they have also carried out high-profile attacks, including attacks on the French embassy and army headquarters in Burkina Faso's capital.
Launched last year, the 5,000-member G5 Sahel force includes Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania. It received millions of dollars in support from the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia and others.
The new force joins several anti-terrorist efforts in the region including France's largest overseas military operation Barkhane.
Follow the news from Africa at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.