Malians flock to scene of Gao clashes

2013-02-12 10:11

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Gao - After French and Malian forces clashed with Islamists in northern Mali's largest city, hundreds of curious residents on Monday flocked to the site in central Gao still scattered with human remains and unexploded grenades.

Sadou Diallo, the mayor of the city 1 200km northeast of Bamako, blamed Sunday's attack on "a slackening" of control by the Malian army at the city's northern border, where two suicide bombers recently blew themselves up.

Several witnesses said the Malian troops fled after the second suicide attack late Saturday, allowing for the Islamists to sneak in.

At least two jihadists died during the clashes, according to a high-ranking Malian officer.

Diallo also pointed to "negligence on the side of the [Niger] river", by which some Islamists arrived by boat.

On Monday morning hundreds of men, women and children gathered on a shopping street before the police station, where the rebels had hid before firing on the French and Malian soldiers.

Malik Maiga, a local vendor, said he "found five people dead [...] from stray bullets", adding they were "market vendors, brothers".

While doctors only spoke of two civilian bodies at the morgue, Maiga's claim was plausible given that not all corpses are systematically brought over.

But there was no sign of panic in the crowd: for the residents, the beige building holed by shelling and machinegun fire, with its first floor gutted, was the attraction of the day.

Suicide bombings

The crowd gawked at human torso remains lying in the rubble, along with other fragments of flesh.

"It's disgusting but wonderful to see. These people tortured us, they did nothing but damage here," said Mahamane Tandina, 24, cheered on by the crowd.

"We like this, frankly," he said with a smile.

Standing at his side was Jemilatou, a shy 15-year-old who said he came to "see the Mujao who died".

The militant group Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) had controlled the city since June until the troops arrived in late January.

The group has claimed Sunday's guerrilla attack and the pair of suicide bombings Friday and Saturday, saying "The mujahedeen are in the city of Gao and will remain there".

On the first floor of the police station, two walls crumbled, leaving only a reinforced concrete column to support a corner of the building.

A stew of human flesh lay on the floor next to blood splatters that covered the column and cracked ceiling, seeming evidence of a jihadist who blew himself up in the clashes.

Witnesses said that at 04:00 GMT on Monday, a French army helicopter also attacked the building.

Allegations of torture

The parade of onlookers lasted for hours, even as the site had yet to be cleared of mines: two unexploded grenades remained.

A crowd also gathered near Gao's Independence square, renamed "Sharia square" during the occupation, where a corpse lay in the courtyard of the governor's offices.

"It wasn't an Islamist. It was Faycal Harouna Maiga, a Gao tailor," said 23-year-old Boubeye Ahmed Toure, who knew the man and did not know who shot the man.

While the Islamists kill indiscriminately, the Malian soldiers are also trigger-happy: they fired several times at unarmed people passing by the clashes on Sunday, according to footage from the television channel France 2.

Allegations of torture and summary executions committed by the Malian army have multiplied since the start of the conflict.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2820.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.