|Malian security forces rescued hostages, including five foreigners, who were evacuated to Bamako. |
Photograph: Bernd von Jutrczenka/DPA/Corbis
I've been ignoring the recent violence in Mali because I was hoping it would finish up and then I could write one post that covers the full story, but stuff seems to keep happening so I'll post a quick summary of recent events.
Hotel Attack in central Mali
On Friday August 7, "Suspected Islamist militants attacked a hotel in central Mali used by U.N. staff, killing at least six people, taking others hostage and holding off troops encircling the building ... Friday's violence began with a raid on a military site in the town of Sevare, around 600 km (400 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, that was successfully repelled by government troops ..."
On Saturday, August 8, "Five foreigners were evacuated and a number of hostages freed after they were trapped by gunmen in a hotel standoff with soldiers in central Mali that left 12 people dead, ... the 12 deaths included five soldiers, three hostages and four terrorists ..." On that date, no-one had claimed credit for the attack, but there was speculation about the Sahara-based group al-Mourabitoun and Ansar Dine, a Malian group with links to al Qaeda, each of whom launched similar attacks against the Malian army, UN Peacekeepers, and/or foreigners. Another possibility is AQIM, who took over the north of Mali in 2012.
On Monday, August 10, "Militant group al-Mourabitoun, which is linked to al Qaeda, ... claimed responsibility for (the) hotel siege in central Mali at the weekend in which 17 people died."
Attack on police in Bamako
On Wednesday, August 12, "Gunmen killed two police officers in an attack on the main bus station in the Malian capital Bamako ... "
Fighting in Northern Mali
On Saturday, August 15, "Rival armed groups in northern Mali said on Saturday they briefly exchanged fire in the first apparent breach of a peace accord they signed with the government in June. An exchange of light and heavy weapons fire took place south of Kidal, the stronghold of secular Tuareg rebels leading a coalition known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements, or CMA."
"Separatists in Mali accused a pro-government militia on Sunday of breaching a two-month-old ceasefire, leading to a fierce exchange of fire, but the militia said the separatists were the aggressors."
I discussed the history of the separatist movement in Mali a bit in an earlier blog post.