17 December 2013

Mali: Mortar Attack On French, UN Compound in Kidal

Two mortar shells were fired on a military camp housing French and UN troops in Kidal on Monday night. In Paris officials said a magistrate may be sent to investigate the murder of RFI's Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon near the northern Mali town next month.

"Two mortar shells were fired on Monday night by people who have not yet been identified on the Camp in Kidal where French and Minsusma troops are housed," a Malian military source told the AFP news agency.

There were no victims and no damage.

A French military source confirmed the report.

The attack came two days after a car-bomb attack on a bank in Kidal.

It killed two Senegalese blue helmets and wounded at least seven UN and Malian soldiers.

Members of armed groups are still present in the town, which was a stronghold of the Tuareg separatist MNLA, even though its is supposed to be under the joint control of French, UN and Malian forces.

An examining magistrate may be chosen in January to investigate the murder of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, foreign ministry officials told the families and their lawyers on Monday.

They hope to obtain permission to quesiton several UN presonnel in Mali.

Although the leader of the gang that kidnapped and killed the pair has been identified as criminal and Islamist sympathiser Baye Ag Bakabo, none of the other members have yet been identified and none have been arrested.

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