Friday, February 5, 2016 3:11 pm
The U.N. mission to Mali said on Friday that Malian forces backed by U.N. helicopters had retaken a police base in Timbuktu from gunmen who had captured it early in the morning.
“It’s over now,” said spokesman Olivier Salgado, without saying whether there had been casualties.
“They are now inspecting the site and looking for explosive devices,” he added.
The base near the entrance to Timbuktu was occupied exclusively by Nigerian policemen. But it was not clear how many of them were at the base, a former Hotel Palmeraie, at the time of the attack.
Security sources said a Malian army checkpoint in the city also came under fire.
The attackers drove up to the entrance of the U.N. base at around 6:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) and then detonated their vehicle, said Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA.
Islamist militants, who briefly held the city of Timbuktu in 2012 until French forces drove them out, have stepped up attacks in Mali in recent months as part of a growing regional insurgency.
Last month, al Qaeda fighters seized a Swiss missionary living there and set conditions for her release.