Mali: Gunfire and Explosions Heard in Main Military Town

A view of Bamako, Mali with the Niger River in the background.

Bamako, Mali — Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard early Friday at a military base outside the capital of Mali that was the site of past mutinies and coups.

Automatic gunfire and explosions were heard in the Malian town of Kati, home to the country's main military base, just 15 kilometers north of the capital.

The Malian army tweeted Friday that they "vigorously repelled a terrorist attack" in Kati, which consisted of two 'vehicle bombs packed with explosives," and said that two assailants have been "neutralized."

Lamissa Sangare, a VOA reporter based in Kati, said via a messaging app from Kati that he was sleeping when he was awakened by loud explosions.

He says that at around 5:30 this morning, the garrison town of Kati was woken up by two big explosions, followed by automatic gunfire, which lasted around 30 minutes at a time. For the moment, the situation is calm, he says, with no more shots heard.

Sangare added that he saw helicopters circling over the town after the gunfire.

Kati was the site of a coup in 2012 and the 2020 coup though which the current military government took power.

A civilian interim president and prime minister were installed after the 2020 coup, before they were arrested in May of 2021 by the military. Mali has been under military rule since.

In recent months, insecurity in Mali has increased dramatically. Suspected Islamist militants massacred 132 civilians in the Mopti region of central Mali in June, and similar attacks against civilians have increased in the north of the country.

Insecurity has also increased near the capital, in the country's south. A police station in Fana, 130 kilometers from Bamako, was attacked in June, and just last week, six people were killed during an attack on a checkpoint in Zantiguila, 70 kilometers from the capital. A camp for state anti-terrorism forces was attacked Thursday in Kolokani, 120 kilometers north of Bamako.

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