MALI RECORDS FIRST-EVER SUICIDE BOMBING…ATTACKER BLOWS SELF UP IN GAO AS URBAN WARFARE COMMENCES; MALI BECOME ONLY THE SECOND THEATRE OF SUICIDE OPERATIONS IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA, OUTSIDE NIGERIA

Malian troops on the move
(Photo Credit: REUTERS)

08/02/2013
by Serge Daniel
GAO, Mali (AFP)

A suicide bomber blew himself up in Mali
on Friday as a dramatic turn towards
guerrilla tactics by Islamists and an
outbreak of fighting among feuding
soldiers show the war is far from won for the embattled nation.

In Mali’s first-ever suicide bombing, an attacker drove a motorcycle up to an army checkpoint in Gao, the largest town in the north, and detonated an explosive belt, wounding one soldier, said First Sergeant Mamadou Keita. The attack was claimed by the Movement
for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa
(MUJAO), one of a trio of Islamist groups
that occupied northern Mali for 10 months before France sent in fighter jets, attack helicopters and 4,000 troops to drive them out.

“We claim today’s attack against the
Malian soldiers who chose the side of the miscreants, the enemies of Islam,” MUJAO spokesman Abou Walid Sahraoui told AFP, vowing further attacks.The turn to guerrilla warfare comes after French-led forces ousted the extremist fighters from the towns under their control, sending many fleeing into remote desert hills around Tessalit, a town near
the Algerian border that French-led forces took Friday. Some of the fleeing Islamists have also been spotted as far away as Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, a Sudanese rebel commander said. A regional political expert confirmed the claim.

Despite the successes of France’s
offensive, the Malian state remains weak and divided, a situation highlighted by clashes between elite paratroopers and soldiers who opened fire on each other in the capital. The gunfight erupted after the paratroopers — who are loyal to ex-president Amadou Toumani Toure, ousted in a March coup — shot into the air in protest at an order absorbing them into other units to be sent to the frontline. “From 6:00 am (0600 GMT) heavily armed soldiers, from all units, attacked the camp,” said Yaya Bouare, one of the soldiers inside the camp, adding that there were many wounded.

The violence came on the day the first EU military trainers arrived in Bamako to try to whip the Malian army into shape to face the Islamists. The once-stable nation imploded last year after the coup by angry soldiers from the ramshackle army, which had been humiliated by a separatist rebellion among the fiercely independent Tuareg people in the north. A month later, paratroopers launched a
failed counter-coup. Fighting between
feuding factions left 20 people dead.

With Bamako in disarray,Al-Qaeda-linked fighters hijacked the Tuareg rebellion and took control of the north, imposing a brutal form of Islamic law.

France launched a surprise intervention
on January 11 in its former colony as the
insurgents advanced towards the capital,raising fears the entire country could become a sanctuary for Al Qaeda-linked groups. France is anxious to hand over the operation to UN peacekeepers amid fears of a prolonged insurgency, which will likely be amplified by Friday’s bombing.

The bomber, a young Tuareg, was also
carrying a larger bomb that failed to
detonate, Keita said. The attack came a day after MUJAO said it had “created a new combat zone” by organising suicide bombings, attacking military convoys and placing landmines. Two Malian soldiers and four civilians have already been killed by landmines and French troops are still fighting off what Paris called “residual jihadists still fighting.”

On Friday, French special forces parachuted into the airport at Tessalit, a
strategic oasis in the far northeast, the
army said. Along with Chadian troops, they sought to flush the Islamists out of their last bastions in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains, the target of major air strikes to cut them off from supplies.

– ‘Our concern is they may come back’ —

UN leader Ban Ki-moon expressed
concern Thursday at the risk of a guerrilla fightback. “All these jihadis and armed groups and terrorist elements — seemingly they have fled,” he said. “Our concern is that they may come back.” After announcing plans to start
withdrawing its soldiers in March,France
on Wednesday called for a UN
peacekeeping force to take over.But Ban warned it would take weeks for the Security Council to decide the next move, and officials said Mali’s interim
government had yet to accept a UN force.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is slowly deploying 6,000 troops in Mali, joined by another 2,000 from Chad.

A former US ambassador to Mali
meanwhile said Friday that France and
other European countries had channelled millions of dollars in ransom payments to the militants the French troops are now fighting.

Vicki Huddleston said in a TV interview
that France paid $17 million to free
hostages seized from a uranium mine in
Niger in 2010. She said as much as $89 million could have been paid out by European countries between 2004 and 2011.

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About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
This entry was posted in AFRICAN ARMED FORCES, AL-QAEDA IN THE ISLAMIC MAGHREB(AQIM), ANSAR DINE, ARMED CONFLICT, BOKO HARAM ISLAMIC STATE MOVEMENT, COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS, GLOBAL DEFENCE NEWS, MALI, MILITARY HARDWARE, MILITARY PHOTOS, MOVEMENT FOR ONENESS AND JUSTICE IN WEST AFRICA, NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES, RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM, RISK ANALYSIS, SECURITY ISSUES AND CONCERNS, TERRORISM, WEST AFRICAN STANDBY FORCE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to MALI RECORDS FIRST-EVER SUICIDE BOMBING…ATTACKER BLOWS SELF UP IN GAO AS URBAN WARFARE COMMENCES; MALI BECOME ONLY THE SECOND THEATRE OF SUICIDE OPERATIONS IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA, OUTSIDE NIGERIA

  1. beegeagle says:

    Well, it is panning out as precisely as we predicted. For those who have been running their mouths, it is looking like this Mali expedition is going to boil down to a two-phased activity

    – urban warfare, led by Nigeria
    – desert warfare, led by Chad

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/going-into-mali-nigerian-and-chadian-troops-stand-out-from-their-african-peers-time-magazine/

    We have said precisely that at a point, much of these operations shall boil down to just the same thing which we have developed a lot of experience in since 2011..CQB, FIBUA, K9 action, combat engineer operations. It is panning out precisely that way – a motorcycle-borne suicide attacker, something which has led to bans on the operations of commercial motorcyclists in many cities of northern Nigeria – Kano, Maiduguri, Jos, Damaturu, Potiskum etc.

    It is a war in which, wef today, even the USA and France would begin to press for a leading role for Nigerian troops.

    Watch this space

  2. beegeagle says:

    Elsewhere, BEEGEAGLE wrote

    http://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/special-task-forcejos-plateau-peace-building-and-conflict-resolution/

    QUOTE

    That is what I see, BigBrovar.

    In the gruelling phase to come, skills in desert warfare, Close Quarter Battles(CQB), combat engineer operations and Fighting In Built-up Areas(FIBUA) shall be critical.

    – Pertaining to desert warfare, we can do either of two things..begin now to have batches of 250 troops embedded for 3-week courses in desert warfare at our our Desert Warfare Training Camp right behind the sand dunes and oases at Yusufari, NE Nigeria OR oganise a joint one-week training exercise with Nigerien troops in their country now that we have a military presence on the sister republic’s territory.

    – for CBQ and FIBUA, we are more than okay in that. No thanks to extensive and sustained urban gun battles with insurgents in northern Nigeria and massive 4-7 week retraining programmes in which have gone on non-stop at Jaji and Kachia in the hundreds and now, at the new NATRAC by the thousands. On that one, we have struck a lovely balance between training and combat experience.

    – Yes, IED attacks shall commence with the next phase. On that one as well, we have grilled combat engineers hands on in what has been rated by the US Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO) as the most IED-intensive conflict in Africa.

    In these four realms, the Chadians and Nigeriens on account of combat history and natural geography, they go to Mali unmatched by none in sub-Saharan Africa in that field of endeavour. That is the realm of comparative advantage, same way we occupy a pole position in littoral warfare and amphibious operations on account of protracted activity in the Niger Delta.

    As for FIBUA, CBQ and combat engineer operations, we are right up there on account of day-to-day operations related to CTCOIN activity in northern Nigeria.

    Let us wait and see how it goes hereafter. But we must prepare our minds for a long drawn-out deployment in Mali which we should also prepare to sustain at the level of a brigade-sized contingent if gains made are to be fully consolidated.

    END OF QUOTE

  3. gbash10 says:

    This is the begining of the long awaited frontal attacks in Mali,our troops are already familier with this type of warfare,let the CQB combat commence!

    • peccavi says:

      Not frontal attacks assymetric.
      Experienced of not (and i doubt as experienced as the French) this will be a casualty intensive phase. The longer the Nigerian army is out of it the better

  4. originalpato says:

    Is France still insisting on a UN Peace keeping force by April?

  5. Spirit says:

    At last, the real war has commenced.

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