At least five people were killed including a French and Belgian, and dozens others are believed to have been seriously injured in an overnight grenade and gun attack in the Malian capital, Bamako.
The attack happened at La Terrasse, a restaurant popular with expatriates. Though details of the attack is still sketchy, it is believed to be a similar to the attack on French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris and last month’s attack in a café in Denmark.
In 2012, Mali became the focus of the world as al Qaeda-linked militants and secessionist rebels seized the northern part of the country until French and African forces pushed them out.
Like Nigeria, Mali recently postponed local election over insecurity in the north.
Radio France International reports that the assailants, who were wearing balaclavas, threw grenades into the restaurant and later opened fire with an automatic weapon. They engaged Malian Police commandoes in a shoot-out for several minutes in a nearby street, as they were intercepted when trying to escape.
French President, François Hollande, denounced the attack as a cowardly act and pledged French government assistance.