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Forces have foiled an attempted suicide attack in Mali. It happened in the north of the city of Gao as the bomber approached a checkpoint, the second such attack in as many days.

The remains of the bomber lay scattered in the area after he exploded following an exchange of fire with Malian soldiers. A witness described what happened. “There were exchanges of gunfire for 30 minutes. Then the bomber came, he advanced alone. He was armed. Soldiers returned fire, shot him because he walked towards them and then boom an explosion.”

Immediately afterwards roads to the north of the city were closed. Military experts believe Islamists are still in several villages surrounding Gao.

It is the first time French and Malian forces have encountered the tactic of suicide bombers.

This latest attack comes a day after troops arrested two people wearing belts packed with explosives about 20 kilometres north of Gao.

A spokesman for the armed group which claimed to be behind Friday’s suicide bombing warned it would strike again.

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