MALIAN TOWN OF GAO HIT BY SECOND SUICIDE ATTACK

Mali rebel mans a truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapon

Mali rebel mans a truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapon

February 10, 2013
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
GAO, Mali

A suicide bomber wearing military fatigues blew himself up near a checkpoint at the entrance to northern Mali’s largest city, wounding one soldier in the second attack to hit the same location since Friday, residents and officials said Sunday.

A column of French tanks stood guard
along the sandy road leading to the scene, as French and Malian soldiers
patrolled the surrounding residential
neighborhood of mud-walled homes.The attack took place late Saturday at about 11 p.m., according to Malian Capt.Daouda Diarra. On Sunday morning, the
bomber’s torso lay in the scorching sun
in the middle of the road, while his
head sat in a pile of sand in a nearby wheelbarrow.

“When he leaped over the wall, we fired
at him,” Diarra said of the suicide bomber. “He then detonated his
explosive belt.” Cpl. Mamadou Abdoulaye Maiga said other weapons were left behind at the scene, and French forces detonated three grenades Sunday morning. It was the exact location where an earlier suicide bomber riding a motorcycle had blown himself up Friday morning, an attack that raised fears the militants ousted from Gao by French and Malian forces could now be launching a new wave of violence.

The Malian military gave no details about the bomber in Saturday’s attack,stating only that the young man was Arab and a suspected member of MUJAO — the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. The group seized control of Gao in April 2012 and had ruled the city until the arrival of French and Malian forces in late January. Military officials have said that residual elements of the group remain in the Gao area, and other fighters are hiding in the surrounding
desert.

Friday’s suicide bomber had been living
at a known jihadist hideout in Gao,
according to local residents. A guard at
the home said that it had been visited
three months ago by the one-eyed terror leader Moktar Belmoktar, who claimed responsibility for the attack on the BP-operated natural gas plant in Algeria. Other jihadist leaders from MUJAO also
had stayed in the luxurious two-story
home with a verdant courtyard, which
the militants took over when they
captured Gao last year, the guard said.

Fears of suicide bombing attacks in Gao
have been high since the discovery of
industrial-strength explosives in the city
last week. Four Malian soldiers also were killed by a land mine in the town
of Gossi, raising fears the militants were planting explosives in the road.

On Sunday, crowds of nearby residents
gathered under the shade of a few trees by the site of the suicide bombing attack. It was the second time in as
many days that their homes had been
shaken by blasts from suicide bombers. “I am really afraid. You hear about these kinds of things in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Gao is becoming like
Pakistan,” said Maouloud Dicko, 30, as
he sat on his motorcycle.

Malian soldiers are fighting jihadists in
their desert hideouts just outside Gao,
the country’s defense minister said
Saturday. Defense Minister Yamoussa Camara said that at least two militants were killed during the fighting that took
place Friday several miles (kilometers)
outside northern Mali’s largest town. “We call on the population of Gao not to
give in to panic and above all to
cooperate with defense and security
forces to drive out the terrorists who
are trying to infiltrate among civilians,”
Camara said by telephone from Bamako, the capital.

Radical jihadists seized control of the
major towns across northern Mali in
April last year following a military coup
in the distant capital, and a planned
military intervention by West African
neighbors stalled. France intervened in its former colony on Jan. 11 after the militants began pushing south and seizing towns in central Mali, raising alarm that they were inching closer toward the capital. While the French and Malian forces were able to retake the towns in central Mali, as well as Timbuktu and Gao, the latest suicide attacks indicate the militants are far from defeated.

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4 Responses to MALIAN TOWN OF GAO HIT BY SECOND SUICIDE ATTACK

  1. beegeagle says:

    TIS ON..GUN BATTLE IN GAO, NORTH MALI

    AFP
    10/2/2013

    excerpts

    A gunbattle between Malian soldiers and
    suspected Islamists erupted in the streets of central Gao near the main police station, an AFP correspondent said. The clash, which sent residents running for cover, came after a bomber blew himself up late Saturday at the same army checkpoint where the first such attack in Mali occurred on Friday. His severed head, still lying on the ground the next morning, was later picked up and placed in a wheelbarrow as French troops combed the site at the edge of Gao for landmines, uncovering several of the explosive devices, AFP correspondents said.

    The suicide blasts underlined the threat
    of a drawn-out insurgency as France,
    whose warplanes were still bombing
    northern territory Sunday, tries to map an exit strategy nearly one month into its intervention in its former colony.

    The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in
    West Africa (MUJAO), one of the Islamist
    groups that seized control of northern
    Mali for 10 months in the wake of a
    military coup in March, claimed the first
    attack and had threatened Saturday that there would be more.

    “We are dedicating ourselves to carrying out more attacks against France and its
    allies. We ask the local population to stay far away from military zones and avoid explosions,” spokesman Abou Walid Sahraoui said.

    The two suicide bombers were the only
    fatalities, although one soldier was lightly wounded in Friday’s bombing. Troops have now placed two walls of
    sandbags at the checkpoint, cut down
    trees to increase visibility and set up
    heavy machine guns.

    Malian troops and Islamist fighters
    exchanged gunfire after the blast,
    witnesses said, and French military
    helicopters could be heard in the air.The army closed the road where the attack occurred, which leads north from Gao to Bourem and Kidal, two other key towns in the region.

    French troops arrived at the scene in six
    armoured vehicles Sunday and worked to secure the area, uncovering several
    landmines.

  2. demola says:

    I found this tread on the internet concerning nigerian special forces. I don’t know how authentic these claims are. Please follow the link below.
    forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=116288691&page=1

    • Obix says:

      @Demola, To me, the final part of their training sounds like science fiction! I mean the “come back with 4 heads” final test ! Special forces all over the world are trained to be there for one another. Giving them the option of killing each other before getting inducted sounds ridiculous and goes against the philosophy of “family bonding” they are thought. Even the Russian dreaded Alpha team don’t go through such! @Beags, what do you think?

  3. wocon45 says:

    @ Obix, i strongly agree.

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