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article imageMali suicide attack kills two Malian soldiers

By Ken Hanly     May 4, 2013 in World
Bamako - Islamic militants, who earlier had occupied the northern part of Mali continue suicide and other attacks in several cities from which the French and other forces had driven them several months ago.
Two Malian soldiers have been killed and several people wounded in a suicide attack in northern Mali, near the city of Gao. Colonel Kassim Goita told Reuters that several militants detonated their explosives as a patrol passed through a village about 25 miles from the city of Gao.
The French intervened in Mali in January as militants began to advance south towards the capital Bamako. Although the 4,000 French troops, with the aid of Malian and other African forces, were able to quickly drive Islamic militants from the main cities in the northern area that had been occupied by them for some time, there are still suicide and other attacks. Many militants remain in mountainous areas and no doubt others have simply blended in with the population and periodically they mount attacks. Six French troops have been killed since the intervention began in January. In April, France withdrew 100 troops.and hopes to leave only a thousand in Mali by the end of the year. African forces in Mali already number over 6,000.
Elections are scheduled for Mali this July. The EU has begun training of 2,000 Malian soldiers. The US also trained many Malian soldiers including the leader of the coup last year, Captain Sanogo, whose junta members still have a great deal of power within the interim government.
Lt. Col. Souleyman Maiga, who heads public relations for the Malian military said that the attack was about !:30 PM near the village of Amakouladji north of Gao. A unit on patrol, saw a suspicious man on a scooter and stopped him. While they were about to search him a car surged towards them and began spraying them with machine gun fire. Maiga said the jihadist then set off a bomb that he was wearing.
In all besides the two soldiers, three militants were killed and four outher Malian soldiers were wounded. There were no foreign troops involved.
In early February, French President Francois Hollande was able to stop briefly in Timbuktu. Just a few days earlier, Timbuktu served as the Malian headquarters of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. However, wiithin a few days of his visit, suicide bombings and other attacks began. In Gao there have been four, in Kidal and Timbuktu, two each. However, so far the bombings have only caused a few casualties as most have happened at checkpoints.
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