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Mali: Shooting at military camp exposes army divisions

Mali: Shooting at military camp exposes army divisions
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At least one person has been killed and several wounded in apparent clashes between factions within Mali’s military.

Some reports suggest government soldiers stormed
a camp in the capital Bamako where paratroopers loyal to the country’s deposed president Amadou Toumani Toure are based.

Other reports suggest the families of the paratroopers were caught up in the gunfire.

The “red beret” paratroopers apparently say they’ve been sidelined in the counter-offensive against an Islamist insurgency in northern Mali. Other reports suggest they’ve refused to go to the frontline.

Local resident Noel Dougnon said: “There were two women hurt. The people in the neighbourhood found out what was going on, and they (soldiers) started shooting at everyone.”

The fighting has exposed ongoing divisions within Mali’s army following last April’s military coup.

Also on Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up near Gao, the most populous town in the north.

One soldier was injured after the attacker approached troops on a motorbike and detonated an explosive belt.

It was the first suicide bombing since France intervened last month and an offshoot of al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility.

The attack comes as France seeks to handover to United Nations peacekeepers

Gao, along with Timbuktu and Kidal, has recently been recaptured from the Islamists but forces have come up again increasing resistance in recent days.