Bamako - Armed extremists on Tuesday blew up a small
bridge near Mali's largest northern town of Gao, wounding two civilians, police
and local government sources said.
"Early this Tuesday, extremists dynamited one of two
small bridges near ... Bentia, about 50km from the frontier with Niger, leaving
two civilians wounded," said Ibrahim Cisse, a local councillor for the Gao
A police source confirmed the report.
Cisse said that the assailants, "wearing turbans",
arrived by motorbike at the bridge that crosses the Niger river at Bentia, then
"In this place... there are two small bridges. The aim
was to blow up both bridges, but fortunately only the old one
was badly damaged," said a police source in Gao.
"The new bridge, which is the most frequently used,
sustained only very slight damage," the source added.
Malian soldiers had been sent to the spot "to avoid
other acts of sabotage" by armed extremists, the police source said.
Islamist groups in Mali linked to al-Qaeda and seek to impose strict Islamic
law in the desert north of the vast west African country.
The bridges were attacked a day after the extremists fired shells
on Gao itself, wounding a Malian soldier, and 10 days after a suicide attack in
Timbuktu killed two civilians and four bombers, as well as wounding seven
Responsibility for that attack was claimed by al-Qaeda in Maghreb (Aqim), which was founded in Algeria and operates in the
Sahel region south of the Sahara.
Last year Mali was upended by a separatist rebellion and
coup that toppled the elected president and allowed al-Qaeda-linked fighters to occupy the north before being ousted by a French-led military