Tuesday 20 February 2018

Irish soldiers unhurt in Mali attack

UN soldiers on the street following a gun attack at a hotel hosting an EU military training mission in Bamako, Mali yesterday. HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images
UN soldiers on the street following a gun attack at a hotel hosting an EU military training mission in Bamako, Mali yesterday. HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images

Ryan Nugent

Three members of the Irish Defence Forces have escaped unscathed after gunmen opened fire at a Mali hotel.

The gunmen launched an attack at the hotel, which is the location of the EU headquarters in the Malian capital of Bamako.

Armed forces killed at least one man, who lay outside the hotel in a pool of blood next to a Kalashnikov rifle. His backpack lay beside him.

A total of 10 Irish personnel are stationed in Mali, with the other seven located in Kouli Koro, 300km north of Bamako.

The three Irish at the Hotel Nord-Sud were taking part in an EU training camp.

It is unclear whether the members of the Irish Defence Forces will be withdrawn from the country, with a spokesman saying that it is a matter for the Government.

Chief of Staff for the Defence Forces Mark Mellett visited the training base earlier this month.

The EU mission later released a statement, saying none of its personnel had been wounded during the attack.

The assault comes about four months after Al-Qaida jihadis attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, killing 20 people.

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the coup that unleashed widespread chaos in Mali. Over the past year, jihadis have mounted a growing wave of violent attacks against UN peacekeepers, who are trying to help stabilise the country.

Irish Independent

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