January 26, 2015 / 11:19 PM / in 3 years

Top Malian army officer survives assassination attempt in capital: sources

BAMAKO (Reuters) - One of Mali’s most senior military officers survived an assassination attempt in the capital, Bamako, on Monday, three sources told Reuters.

General Mohamed Ould Meydou, adviser to the chief of staff of Mali’s army and the most senior Arab officer in the military, was shot by unknown gunmen, but was only lightly wounded in the incident, two of the sources said.

One of the sources, a medic at the Gabriel Toure hospital in Bamako, said Ould Meydou was well enough to leave hospital after receiving treatment on Monday evening.

It was not clear who had targeted Meydou, an ethnic Arab who remained loyal to the Bamako government when Tuareg and Arab rebels took up arms in 2012.

Taureg-led separatists and a mix of Islamist groups with links to al Qaeda occupied northern Mali for most of 2012 until a French intervention in early 2013 scattered them into the desert.

Despite French backing and the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers, Mali’s military has struggled to redeploy in the north and is increasingly being targeted by a resurgent militant threat.

Dynamics between armed groups are often muddied by local politics, ethnic rivalries and allegations of involvement in organized crime, which has led to shifting loyalties of gunmen.

Reporting by Adama Diarra and David Lewis; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Leslie Adler

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