Al-Qaida-linked militants staged Mali resort attack; 5 dead

An al-Qaida-linked Islamic militant group said Monday it staged an attack the previous day on a resort area in Mali popular with foreigners, killing five people, including a Portuguese soldier who had been serving in the European Union mission to stabilize this West African country wracked by mounting extremism.

The recently formed Mali-based Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites.

A Malian soldier and three civilians — a Chinese citizen, a Malian, and a French-Gabonese dual national — also were slain in the worst terror attack to strike Bamako since late 2015.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the Malian victim worked for the European delegation in Bamako.

The attack struck a resort area that was considered safe enough that it was an approved rest and recreation location for soldiers with the EU mission. It was not immediately clear how the attackers managed to overpower the security staff and shoot at guests.

Mali’s special forces arrived on the scene not long after the reports of gunfire erupting from Campement Kangaba, known for its three swimming pools and serene surroundings as an escape from the bustling capital’s heat and traffic.

Initially the country’s security minister said one of the wounded attackers had managed to escape but on Monday officials said they had accounted for all the jihadis.

“At this hour, all of the terrorists have been killed. The situation is under control,” Mali’s Security Minister Salif Traore told The Associated Press.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene Sunday afternoon, with one man saying the first jihadi on the scene arrived by motorcycle shouting “Allah Akbar.” Three others subsequently arrived in a vehicle and began firing their weapons. One of the attackers was subdued by a French soldier who happened to be at Campement Kangaba on the weekend, according to a witness at the…

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