Two Irish soldiers safe after Mali terror attack

Two members of the Defence Forces caught up in a suspected jihadist terror attack in West Africa have been reported safe and unharmed.

Two people, a civilian and a police officer, were known to have been killed.

The two soldiers are part of an 18-strong Irish contingent in a UN-backed EU training mission in Mali.

They were in Le Campement Hotel, a popular resort for ex-pats and tourists on the outskirts of the capital, Bamako, when four attackers struck on Sunday.

There were reports that three of the gunmen, described by a Mali government spokesman as “suspected jihadists”, were shot dead.

The Defence Forces said the two members had been returned to the EU Training Mission Headquarters in Bamako.

Currently, 18 members serve under EUTM Mali, 11 in the Koulikoro Training Centre and seven in mission headquarters in the capital.

In a statement, Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe, said: “Every effort is made to ensure the safety of our personnel on overseas missions, but given the inherent instability in the environments in which they operate, risk cannot be fully eliminated.”

EUTM Mali trains the Malian armed forces to improve their military capacity and instructs them on international humanitarian and human rights laws.

Le Campement sits in Dougourakoro, where the Radisson Blu hotel was targeted in a terror attack in November 2015, leaving more than 20 people dead.

The Mali government is fighting Islamist militants, many linked to al-Qaeda, in the north. France has 1,600 soldiers in its former colony, assisting it in its fight against jihadist factions.


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