Mali’s army is fighting to repel unknown assailants in the northern city of Timbuktu who tried to take over an empty United Nations police base.
“Early this morning houses were shaken by the huge explosion of a suicide vehicle bomber close to the airport,” Aboubacrime Cisse, president of the council of the Cercle de Timbuktu, said by phone. “The attackers were targeting a UN force police unit base that had been left empty days ago.”
Mali’s government is trying to implement a peace accord with Tuareg separatists in the north who want their own state while fighting militant Islamist tied to al-Qaeda that set up base in the area, which is desolate desert. The militants killed dozens of people in November after attacking a Radisson Blu hotel in the capital, Bamako. In January, they killed more than 30 at a hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital.