Heavy gun fire heard around Mali town

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 31, 2012 5:53 AM
Heavy gun fire heard around Mali town

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Heavy gun fire was heard around the northern Mali town of Gao on Saturday, one of three regional centers targeted by separatist rebels seeking to carve out a desert homeland.

"We can hear heavy fire coming in the direction of the main military camp, which is also the biggest garrison in the whole of the north," a Reuters reporter in the town said by telephone. "People here are running all over the place, and all the shops are closing."

The rebels have stepped up their campaign since last week's military coup plunged the West African state into a political crisis.

(Reporting by Cheick Dioura; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)