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Suspected jihadists hit resort in Mali's capital
19 June 2017, 02:45 | Guillermo Sutton
Mali's security minister says at least two people are dead after suspected jihadists attacked a popular resort on the outskirts of the capital.
There was no information immediately available on any casualties. A Malian military spokesman had said there were believed to be several people inside the Campement Kangaba.
"There was an exchange of gunfire with special anti-terrorist forces (FORSAT) who arrived only a few minutes after the attack began", Mali's ministry of security said in a statement.
Mali has been the site of ongoing conflicts with insurgent groups since 2012.
Several people rescued at Kangaba said assailants had shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest), although no group has yet claimed responsibility.
In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron is closely following developments of the attack on a hotel resort in Mali's capital where suspected jihadists took hostages in a spot popular with foreigners. A devastating attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako later that year left 20 dead - six Malians and 14 foreigners.
That attack was claimed by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
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The grounds include a hotel, bars, restaurant, spa and swimming pools.
Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, prompting the French military in 2013 to lead a military operation to oust jihadists from power in the major towns in the north.
French troops and a 10,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force have battled to stabilize the former French colony and strikes on Malian and Western targets have spread further south and far beyond traditional militant strongholds.
The unrest has continued despite a 2015 peace deal between the government and Tuareg-led rebels offering partial autonomy to the north.
In January 2016, 30 people were killed, including many foreigners, in an attack on a top Burkina Faso hotel and a nearby restaurant in the capital Ouagadougou. "The special forces have now sealed off the perimeters of the site and are in the process of securing it".
France also has 4,000 soldiers in its Bakhane force in five countries - Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso - all of which are threatened by the jihadist threat across their porous borders.
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