UN north Mali camp attacked

Bamako - Suspected armed Islamist extremists on Friday fired rockets at a camp of the UN mission in Mali in the north of the country, a Malian security source said.

The attackers fired four rockets at the MINUSMA base close to the border with Algeria at about 04:00 (04:00 GMT), the source told AFP, but could not say whether the camp at Aguelhoc had been struck or if there were any injuries.

"This is the work of the Islamists," he stated.

A Malian Islamist close to the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility for a first attack Wednesday on the UN camp, in the Kidal region.

"In the name of all the mujahedeen, we have attacked the camp of the enemies of Islam today at Aguelhoc," Sultan Ould Bady, known for his links with MUJAO, told AFP.

Nine rockets were then fired on the base, one of which landed inside its perimeter without causing any casualties, a UN source on the scene said.

Three jihadist groups, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and MUJAO, in 2012 took control of much of the desert north of the west African country, including the three main towns of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.

They seized power on the back of an uprising by ethnic Tuareg separatists and imposed strict Shari'ah law and punishments for 10 months, before being ousted from the towns and forced back into desert hideouts by a French military intervention launched in January 2013.

Though order has largely been restored across the territory, Islamist extremists continue to carry out raids and attacks and French troops are still on patrol.

They are blamed for a suicide attack on 16 August that killed two soldiers from Burkina Faso serving with MINUSMA at Ber, a place near the major town of Timbuktu.

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