Mali said four guests and one member of the security forces died in a militant attack on a resort popular with foreigners on the outskirts of the capital, Bamako, on Sunday, underscoring rising insecurity in the West African nation.
Militants began the assault on Le Campement Kangaba, near the suburb of Dougourakoro, at 4 p.m., the security ministry said in a statement on its website. Special forces killed four of the assailants and arrested three suspects, Baba Cisse, a spokesman for the ministry, said by phone on Monday.
The Support Group for Islam and Muslims, a merger of four militant organizations operating in the semi-arid Sahel region, claimed responsibility for the raid, according to the private Mauritanian news agency al-Akhbar, which quoted a statement from the group. Three Malians had carried out it out and were killed in the attack, the agency reported.
“These days there aren’t many cities in the world where there isn’t a risk of an attack,” Security Minister Salif Traore told Radio France Internationale in an interview on Monday. “We’re taking all the necessary security measures and we’re very vigilant, but of course we can’t say the risk is zero.”
The hotel guests who died included French-Gabonese, French-Malian, Chinese and Portuguese citizens, Cisse said. The Portuguese was a soldier and part of a European Union training mission, Portugal’s army said in a statement.
Sunday’s assault follows less than two years after Islamist militants carried out an attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015, killing more than 20 people.
Mali has been gripped by violence since ethnic Tuareg rebels in the north began a separatist insurgency in 2012 and joined forces with Islamist militants. United Nations peacekeepers and Malian troops are targeted almost weekly by bombings and hit-and-run attacks in the north and increasingly in the center of the country. The UN deployed more than 13,000 military personnel and says its mission in Mali has the highest fatality rate of all UN operations worldwide.
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