KIDAL, Mali (Reuters) - Gunmen killed a driver with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday in an attack on his aid truck as it headed across northern Mali toward Niger, the ICRC and Red Cross officials said.
The identity of the attackers was unknown. Mali’s desert north suffers frequent militant attacks despite a French-led operation to drive out Islamist fighters in the wake of a Tuareg uprising there in 2012.
A staff member of the Mali Red Cross is in a stable condition after being injured in the attack, said a statement by Yasmine Praz Dessimoz, head of ICRC operations for North and West Africa, adding that details remained unclear.
“He (the truck driver Hamadoun) was driving a truck from Gao to (Niger’s capital) Niamey ... to collect much-needed medical equipment for Gao hospital. His death is not only a tragedy for his family and for the ICRC, it will affect the life and well-being of tens of thousands of people,” Dessimoz said.
A Malian Red Cross official said the attack took place around 40 km (25 miles) outside Gao.
“The truck ... was brutally attacked by armed men who fired on the driver and burned the truck. We don’t know the identity of the attackers,” Valery Mbaoh Nana of the Malian Red Cross told Reuters.
Reporting by Adama Diarra in Bamako and Souleymane Ag Anara in Kidal; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Andrew Roche