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Militants Attack Headquarters of African Taskforce in Mali
Militants armed with guns and explosives attacked the headquarters of an African military taskforce in central Mali, killing two soldiers and one civilian.
The attackers detonated a car packed with explosives destroying the entrance to the G5 Sahel headquarters Friday and then entered the compound firing guns.
G5 Sahel is a regional force created last year to root out jihadists in West Africa's Sahel region, and involves 5,000 troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The chairman of the group, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, confirmed the death toll. Officials in Mali say two attackers were also killed in the gun battle.
In a statement from the G5 Force, Issoufou condemned “this cowardly act by criminal organizations whose aim is to destabilize one of the essential instruments for the stability of our sub-region.”
SITE, which monitors militant activity around the world, said al-Qaida's branch in Mali had reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
The assault comes shortly before French President Emmanuel Macron and leaders from the G5 countries are set to meet at an African Union summit starting Sunday in Mauritania. France also has troops in Mali, intervening in 2013 to help government forces drive al-Qaida-linked jihadists out of the north.