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Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 22:56

Mali suicide blast kills at least 50

By Associated Press

Mali suicide blast kills at least 50
People gather outside a hospital were injured were taken after an explosion at the Joint Operational Mechanism base in Gao, Mali, Jan 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Yacouba Cisse)

GAO, Mali — A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden vehicle attacked a camp in northern Mali on Wednesday, killing more than 50 people and wounding more than 100 soldiers and former fighters now trying to stabilize the region.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, suspicion quickly fell on the Islamic extremist groups operating in the area which oppose the 2015 peace agreement that brought the parties together.

The attack marks a significant setback for efforts to achieve peace in the long-tumultuous region. The UN Security Council was expected to discuss Mali on Wednesday.

The morning blast hit the Joint Operational Mechanism base in the city of Gao, home to Malian soldiers and hundreds of former fighters who had signed the peace agreement with the government.

Dismembered bodies could still be seen two hours after the blast.

A Malian military official, Col. Mohamed Ould, put the death toll at more than 50, with more than 100 others wounded.

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