News24

Army barracks attacked in Mali, Al-Qaeda suspected

2011-12-31 12:45

Bamako - Armed men believed to be members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacked a newly built military barracks in north-eastern Mali on Thursday night, security sources told AFP Friday.

"Armed men, strongly suspected of being AQIM militants attacked a military barracks in north-eastern Mali and destroyed part of the building," one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, adding there were no fatalities.

A separate source confirmed the information, saying the attack had taken place in Inhalill in the Kidal region of the desert nation.

"It is a military barracks with offices which had only just been finished. Soldiers have not yet been posted there," she said.

Construction work was financed by the Special Programme for Peace, Security and Development in northern Mali, supported by European Union states such as France.

In October 2010 armed men attempted to obstruct construction on a military barracks in Abeibara, also in the north-east region which borders Algeria. AQIM was also suspected of being behind the attack.

Along with Mali, Algeria and Niger, Mauritania is confronted with rising insecurity due to attacks by AQIM and other criminal groups as well as widely available weapons from the conflict in Libya.

AQIM is involved in terror attacks, kidnappings of Westerners and various types of trafficking, including drugs, in the vast area, which is difficult to police.

A total 12 Europeans are being held hostage in the Sahel region, south of the Sahara desert by AQIM and a splinter group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.