Monday, March 9, 2015
Five people, including two Europeans, have been killed by gunmen during an attack on a bar in Bamako, the capital city of Mali, early on Sunday morning. At least nine others were injured during the attack in which the assailants used machine guns and grenades.
Three Malians, a French national, and a Belgian security official who was working for the European Union were killed. At least three Swiss nationals, including soldiers, are amongst the wounded. Local newspaper al-Akhbar reported al-Murabitun, an Islamic extremist group, say they are behind the shooting.
Gunmen attacked the La Terrasse bar shortly at around 1:00a.m. French soldiers were on-scene soon after the attack had started.
Commenting for the BBC, Alex Duval-Smith said “When I arrived there about an hour after the attack, there was a white body bag on the floor. A dozen Malian police were at the scene, including an inspector who used tables and stools to cordon off the bar. A witness said the attackers had sped off in a vehicle and on a motorbike and that one had shouted ‘Allahu Akbar'”.
al-Murabitun hold territory in Northern Mali. According to the U.S State Department they are “newly-formed”.
French President François Hollande said the shooting was “cowardly” and spoke to Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, the President of Mali. During the conversation he offered Mali “the aid of France” to fight extremism. The French Embassy in Bamako has warned its citizens living in the city to be on high alert.
This is believed to be the first attack by a Islamist group in the capital city. In 2013 French troops aided in displacing Islamist forces from towns in Northern Mali. Mali still has around 1,000 serving French soldiers stationed in the country.