Rockets shake Mali's Timbuktu, no casualties - French army
April 22, 2018 | 9:34 PM
by Reuters
UN peacekeepers stand guard in the northern town of Kouroume, Mali, May 13, 2015. Kourome is 18 km (11 miles) south of Timbuktu. Photo - Reuters/Adama Diarra//File

Bamako/Paris: Homemade rockets shook the northern Mali city of Timbuktu on Sunday near UN and French military bases where militants launched a deadly suicide raid last weekend, France's army said.

No one was hurt this time around as the two or three rockets exploded outside the UN "Super Camp" in Timbuktu and a nearby French base, an army spokesman told Reuters.

Youba Cisse, a trader in Timbuktu, told Reuters he heard at least three loud detonations coming from the direction of the camp. The UN mission, known as MINUSMA, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The April 14 car bomb and rocket attacks on the heavily fortified bases by militants disguised as UN peacekeepers killed one UN peacekeeper from Burkina Faso and wounded seven French troops.

The raid, for which Al Qaeada's local affiliate JNIM claimed responsibility, marked a particularly daring assault amid an upsurge in extremist violence in Mali and neighbouring countries.

France's defence ministry said at least 15 assailants were killed when it scrambled fighter jets and attack helicopters to respond. UN peacekeeping and French military forces in northern Mali have faced near-constant attack over the past year by determined and well-armed militant groups seen as the gravest threat to security across West Africa's Sahel region.

Western-backed operations against the groups have inflicted significant casualties, yet the militants have savvily exploited political and ethnic tensions to recruit new members.

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