On 18 January 2017, a suicide bomber drove a vehicle filled with explosives into a military camp near Gao, Mali, killing 77 people and injuring at least 115. The incident is the deadliest terrorist attack in Malian history.[1]

2017 Gao bombing
Part of Northern Mali Conflict
Malian Red Cross after a terrorist attack, Gao.jpg
Gao is located in Mali
Gao
Gao
Gao (Mali)
LocationGao, Mali
Date18 January 2017
Attack type
Suicide bombing
Weaponsexplosives
Deaths77 + 1 bomber
Injuries
120 estimated
PerpetratorsAl-Mourabitoun

IncidentEdit

At around 09:00 local time, a vehicle filled with explosives entered the Joint Operational Mechanism base[2] that housed members of the Malian Army and former militants who had signed a peace agreement with the government.[3] According to an army spokesman, the vehicle was marked with insignia of the active military unit in the area.[4][5] Dozens of people were killed, though the exact number was initially unclear—Malian state broadcaster ORTM said that 47 were dead,[4] while the President's office estimated there to be 60 fatalities and 115 injured.[2] On 19 January, a French Army spokesman said that the death toll had risen to 77.[6]

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack[4] through its Al-Mourabitoun affiliate,[7] saying that the bombing had been "punishment for Mali's cooperation with France."[4] The statement attributed the attack to the Mourabitoun battalion and identified the bomber as Abdul Hadi al-Fulani.[8]

ResponseEdit

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita declared a three-day period of national mourning,[3] while Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said that while the attack was "criminal, cowardly, [and] barbaric," it would not end the government's efforts to reach peace with the country's militant fighters.[2] Defence Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga was scheduled to travel to Gao in response to the bombing.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Al Qaeda-linked group claims Mali's deadliest suicide attack". euronews. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Suicide Attack at Military Camp in Mali Kills Scores". The New York Times. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Truck bomb kills at least 60, including army troops, in northern Mali". The Washington Post. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Suicide blast kills dozens at army base in Mali's Gao". Al Jazeera. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. ^ Press, Associated (18 January 2017). "Mali suicide bomber kills at least 50 people in Gao military camp". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Death toll from suicide blast at Gao army base rises". Al Jazeera. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Group that kidnapped Canadians claims responsibility for Mali bombing". The Globe and Mail. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  8. ^ Weiss, Caleb (18 January 2017). "AQIM claims massive suicide attack on Malian base". Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Retrieved 20 January 2017. AQIM said in a statement that the group's Murabitoon battalion, which is led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, executed the attack. Their claim said that a suicide bomber, identified as Abdul Hadi al Fulani, detonated within a joint French-UN military base "killing 80." Reuters also reported that the bomber ran over several people before detonating his vehicle. It has been difficult to verify details following the attack, including casualty numbers. Malian media reported that five suicide bombers were involved, but AQIM claimed their so-called martyr acted alone. Reports have varied from 40-70 deaths.