Sunday 25 February 2018

Irish soldiers caught up in Mali terror that left four dead

Malian anti-terrorist special forces arrive at the entrance of the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako yesterday. Photo: Getty
Malian anti-terrorist special forces arrive at the entrance of the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako yesterday. Photo: Getty

Idrissa Sangare

Ireland's Defence Forces will carry out a security review after two Irish soldiers were caught up in a suspected terror attack in Mali.

During the terrifying incident at the Le Campement Hotel in Dougourakoro, four civilians were murdered by jihadists, security officials stated.

It has since emerged that two Defence ForceS personnel were present at the hotel during the incident, and have since been accounted for.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe said that the two members were part of the EU training mission HQ in the Mali capital of Bamako.

"I wish to express my condolences in respect of the guests of the Le Campement Hotel, Dougourakoro, killed and injured in yesterday's incident.

"At the time of the incident, two Defence Forces personnel were present at the hotel. I was kept fully advised throughout," Mr Kehoe said.

The union representing Irish Defence Forces personnel said that the incident once again highlighted the dangers faced by Irish soldiers abroad and that a security review will be carried out.

Gerry Rooney, the general decretary of PDFORRA (Permanent Defence Forces Other Ranks Representative Association), said: "This incident does emphasise that all overseas personnel - even those who serve in headquarters like these troops- are at risk to inherent dangers."

Unidentified gunmen killed four guests at the luxury resort popular with Western expatriates just outside the capital Bamako, and one other guest is still missing, a security source at the scene said yesterday.

One of the victims of the attack was Portuguese and one Cameroonian, they said. Authorities had on Sunday confirmed two deaths and identified one as French-Gabonese. The source said the fourth victim had not been identified.

Security forces backed by French and UN troops mobilised quickly when the attack was under way, rescuing 36 residents.

Security Minister Salif Traore told Radio France International that "five terrorists were killed" in operations that continued throughout the night.

"This was without doubt a terrorist attack," he said.

The Campement Kangaba resort was still cordoned off by late morning yesterday as a Malian anti-terrorist squad combed the area for the missing person, a witness said. Mr Traore said the militants had accomplices who had not been killed or detained. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Irish Independent

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