Jihadists claims deadly Timbuktu attack
22 March 2013, 19:03
Bamako - One of the main armed Islamist groups in northern
Mali claimed responsibility Friday for a suicide bombing and armed assault on
Timbuktu which left one soldier and 12 militants dead.
The al-Qaeda-linked Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West
Africa (Mujao) said Thursday's attacks on the desert city it had controlled for
seven months before being ousted had "opened a new front" in the
conflict with Malian troops.
"On behalf of all the mujahedeen, the Mujao claims the
bombing and the attack of Timbuktu... We have opened a new front in Timbuktu,
and we will continue," Mujao spokesperson Adnan Abu Al Walid Sahraoui told
He said militants were back in Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, the
capitals of the three regions of northern Mali, "and they will continue
fighting, thanks to Allah".
"The French are our enemies but those who work with
them are also our enemies," he added.
French and Malian troops liberated the three cities in
January from the grip of armed Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the
Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), which had controlled northern Mali since June,
committing atrocities and destroying Muslim shrines in the name of sharia
Thursday's raid on Timbuktu, the first since the liberation
of the fabled desert city 900km from the capital Bamako, began with a militant
exploding a suicide belt in a car at the airport, killing a Malian soldier and
wounding at least two others, according to a Malian military source.
French army staff said "a dozen" Islamist fighters
were killed by "French and Malian forces" during the clashes which
In addition, several Malian soldiers were wounded by
"friendly fire" from the French army.
The city had been calm since its liberation, unlike the north-eastern
city of Gao which has been hit by several suicide bombings and guerrilla
attacks since the Islamists were driven out.
Fighting in recent weeks has been concentrated in the
Ifoghas mountains in the extreme northeast of the country where French and
Chadian soldiers are trying to flush out lingering groups of rebels.