Shells launched at U.N. base in north Mali: sources

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 01, 2015 9:07 AM

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Unknown attackers fired shells at a United Nations base on the outskirts of a town in northern Mali early on Wednesday, residents told Reuters.

Mali's desert north suffers frequent militant attacks despite a French-led operation to drive out Islamic fighters following a Tuareg uprising there in 2012.

"We are worried by shells being fired in the direction of the military base," said a resident in the town, Ansongo. He said helicopters were flying over the town, which is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Gao.

The MINUSMA peacekeeping force did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It said in a statement in February that a battalion from Niger was based at Ansongo and that it would shortly be reinforced with U.N. police unit.

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MINUSMA has been seeking to broker a peace deal between the northern rebels and the government. The rebels have refused to sign and talks are deadlocked.

(Reporting by Adama Diarra; Writing by Emma Farge, editing by John Stonestreet)