Suicide bombers launch attacks on two Mali towns
Suicide bombers launched two attacks on towns in Mali's north on Friday, a military official said, dpa reported.
One attack early Friday targeted Menaka, a city 185 kilometres south of Gao, the spokesman of the African union support mission told dpa.
Shortly after, a car bomb exploded at Gossi in the Timbuktu region.
The attackers lost their lives but no other fatalities have been reported, said Colonel Yao Aldjoumani of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).
"There were AFISMA troops there but fortunately we have not recorded any loss. Only the bombers died," said Aldjoumani.
Soldiers from Niger spotted the suspicious vehicle approaching their camp at Gossi, and tried to avert the attack, Malian newspaper Essor reports.
Five suicide bombers were killed in the two attacks while two soldiers were injured, according to Radio France Internationale.
The attackers most likely belonged to the Movement for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) or the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb extremist group, the spokesman said.
Militant Islamist insurgents took over Mali's north last year using a power vacuum created by a military coup in Bamako. In January, France launched an international intervention and ousted the extremists from their main strongholds of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, but pockets of jihadists remain in the northern mountain range.
Since French-led Operation Serval started, Gao has seen at least four suicide attacks and there were two suicide bombings both in Kidal and Timbuktu.