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Truck hits landmine in Mali - 4 dead

04 November 2013, 19:59

Bamako - Four passengers were killed when their truck hit a landmine in conflict-scarred northern Mali on Monday, a local government official and a nurse told AFP.

The pick-up was transporting 38 people between the desert towns of Ansongo and Menaka in the Gao region when it drove over the explosive device, said Ibrahim Ag Moha, a local government official in Menaka.

"Four people died on the spot and eight others were injured, and are currently being taken to hospital in Menaka," he added.

A nurse at the hospital confirmed the deaths, saying that two of the injured were in a critical condition. The truck was a public transport vehicle, she added.

France sent troops to Mali in January to fight al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who seized control of the desert north for several months last year, following a coup that caused turmoil in the capital Bamako.

Residual groups of these fighters are no longer able to carry out coordinated assaults, but they are still capable of regular small-scale attacks against French and African soldiers.

It was not known who was responsible for laying the mine but the United Nations said in a report on Mali published earlier this year that unexploded ordnance and landmines littering the west African nation remained a "significant threat".

Menaka has changed hands between Tuareg rebels and Islamists several times since the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad launched a rebellion in northern Mali in January 2012.

In May, a suicide bomber targeted troops from neighbouring Niger stationed in Menaka, 300km east of the city of Gao but only the bomber was killed.



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