Seven killed by Islamist car bomb in north Mali: MNLA

Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:02pm EST
 

By Adama Diarra

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Seven people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack by suspected Islamist militants in the remote northern Malian town of Kidal on Tuesday, the MNLA Tuareg rebel group said, in the second such attack there in less than a week.

A spokesman for the Malian army, Modibo Nama Traore, confirmed that a car bomb had exploded in the town but was unable to provide further details.

French forces have been stationed in Kidal since driving out al Qaeda-linked fighters in late January as part of a military campaign to oust Islamist militants who seized the northern two-thirds of the West African country last year.

Kidal lies in the foothills of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains where diehard al Qaeda-linked fighters are battling French and Chadian forces, which are being aided by the MNLA Tuaregs.

The Tuareg group had initially allied with the Islamists to seize control of northern Mali in April, taking advantage of a military coup in the capital Bamako. However, it was quickly pushed aside by the Islamist militants and now opposes them.

The MNLA said in a statement that the suicide bomber had stopped at one of the MNLA's checkpoints on a road heading southeast from Kidal and had detonated the bomb when its fighters approached his 4x4 vehicle.

"The provisional total of this attack against an MNLA checkpoint is seven dead MNLA fighters as well as several injured," the Tuareg rebel group said in a statement.

A Malian intelligence source said three vehicles had been destroyed in the blast.   Continued...