Suicide bomber attacks army checkpoint in northern Mali
A suicide bomber blew himself up at a Malian army checkpoint in the northern city of Gao on Friday, causing no casualties, officials said, dpa reported.
It was the first such attack since France launched a military operation against Islamist rebels in January. Officials said a 16-year-old ethnic Tuareg motorcyclist detonated his motorbike at the checkpoint. He died in the attack.
In separate violence, shots were fired at a Malian army base west of Bamako, prompting the government to seal off the area and families living nearby to flee, a military official said.
The attack is believed to have been carried out by mutinous paratroopers, known as red berets, who are loyal to former president Amadou Toumani Toure.
Toure was ousted in a March 2011 military coup.
The red berets have been pushing for greater involvement in the military campaign against the rebels, having been largely sidelined since the coup.
Malian troops, backed by African and French forces, are advancing on several remaining Islamist rebel positions in the north.