Twin Explosions Rock UN Camps in Mali

Two explosions rocked U.N. camps in the northern Mali city of Gao on Sunday, causing damage but no casualties, AFP journalists at the scene said.

The early morning blasts shook the barracks of the U.N. mission in Mali, called MINUSMA, forcing the occupants to take refuge in shelters for two hours.

The French army reported only material damage, but had no information on the possible perpetrators of the blasts.

MINUSMA spokeswoman Myriam Dessables told AFP that two other camps in the north had been targeted with mortar fire on Saturday, causing no damage.

The latest violence in the West African country comes after 31 people were killed in an attack on Friday by suspected jihadists near the central town of Bandiagara.

Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that first erupted in the north in 2012 and has since claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.

Despite the presence of thousands of French and U.N. troops, the conflict has engulfed central Mali and spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

France, the former colonial power in Mali, has said it will reduce its troop numbers in the Sahel.

It also said it is planning to transfer troops from Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu to Gao and Menaka, closer to the turbulent "three-borders" zone near Burkina Faso and Niger.

Source: Voice of America

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