Mali's Sevare airport hit by mortar fire, no casualties

2018-07-25 06:30
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Two mortar rounds landed on central Mali's Sevare airport late on Monday in a suspected jihadist attack days ahead of a presidential poll, according to security sources and local authorities.

No casualties were reported.

Sevare lies close to the regional capital of Mopti and is home to a UN mission (MINUSMA) base as well as to the headquarters of the G5 Sahel anti-terror force which draws troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The G5 Sahel's headquarters were hit by a terror attack on June 29, killing three people and two of the attackers.

Malians are due to vote in a presidential election on Sunday.

Shortly before midnight (GMT) on Monday evening, Sevare's airport "was targeted in a terror attack. Two shells were fired," a foreign security source on the ground told AFP on Tuesday.

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A Malian security source confirmed the incident. "Both rounds came from the east of the airport. One exploded in the south and the other in the north, close to the fuel depot, which obviously was a target," the source told AFP.

"One mortar round exploded near the runway and the other close to the airport buildings. Light automatic weapons were fired after the shelling," another foreign security source said.

The attack was confirmed by a local government source, who insisted there were no casualties.

Security forces "secured the airport" several hours after the attack, the Malian source said.

Mali's unrest stems from a 2012 ethnic Touareg separatist uprising, which was exploited by jihadists in order to take over key cities in the north.

The extremists were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

But large stretches of the country remain outside of the control of the foreign and Malian forces, which are frequent targets of attacks, despite a peace accord signed with Tuareg leaders in 2015 aimed at isolating the jihadists.

The violence has also spilled over into both Burkina Faso and Niger.

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa

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