Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Malian forces clash with mutinous soldiers in Bamako

Published:

The clash is seen as a blow to international efforts at boosting security in Mali

Malian government forces have clashed with mutinous soldiers in the capital Bamako on Friday, killing one person.

The clashes at a paratrooper base, west of Bamako, were a result of tensions between government soldiers, known as “green berets”, and “red beret” paratroopers’ loyal to former president Amadou Toumani Toure, who was deposed in a 2011 coup.

Government forces surrounded the paratrooper base and sealed it off, a military official said.

One person was killed, Malian military officials said.

“Red berets fired shots at the families of the green berets, who retaliated by setting alight one of their vehicles,” a witness was quoted by German news agency, dpa, as saying.

“Some of the red berets were angry about orders that came from a commander who wanted them to be reassigned to the green battalion.”

Earlier, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Malian army checkpoint in the northern city of Gao, causing no casualties, officials said.

The suicide bombing was the first of such attacks since France launched a military operation against Islamist rebels in January.

Officials said a 16-year-old ethnic Tuareg detonated his motorbike laden with explosives at the checkpoint.

He died in the attack.

Malian troops, backed by African and French forces, are advancing on several remaining Islamist rebel positions in the north.

French and Chadian forces on Friday took control of Tessalit, a town in

the north near the border with Algeria.

The entire north fell to Islamist rebels after the military coup in the country in 2012.

(dpa/NAN)

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