Terror attack leaves 1 child dead, 2 others injured in Mali’s Timbuktu

Shelling in the historic Malian city of Timbuktu resulted in the death of a child and injuries to at least two other individuals on Saturday, a local official and a hospital source told media.

“On Saturday… at 5:30 pm, armed terrorist groups… targeted the town of Timbuktu with a shell that fell near the market not far from the [Malian Solidarity Bank]”, said an army spokesman.

According to a local elected representative, two projectiles fired by “terrorists” struck the downtown area of Timbuktu, leading to the demise of an 11-year-old girl.

The official mentioned that a four-year-old girl was among those injured.

“We confirm the death of a little girl — we have launched an appeal for a blood donation,” one of the hospital sources said.

According to local officials speaking to media on Monday, the city has been under siege by militants for multiple days.

In the preceding weeks, online messages reportedly linked to a leader of the Al Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) stated that they had initiated a “war” against the Timbuktu region.

These warnings emerged during a month in which the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali accelerated its withdrawal from a base in the northern part of the country, citing the increasingly precarious security conditions.

Governed by a military junta amid three coups within a decade, the West African nation has advocated for the departure of the UN’s MINUSMA mission.

Since its initiation in 2013 following separatist and jihadist uprisings in northern Mali the prior year, the MINUSMA mission has vacated two bases close to Timbuktu – Ber and Goundam – and handed over their control to Malian authorities.

But the unrest has continued unabated.

Timbuktu is among the numerous major northern cities that initially came under Tuareg rebel dominance and later fell into the control of Salafist militants after a 2012 uprising.

Twelve months later, French and Malian forces regained control of the city. Nevertheless, the instability has persisted as extremist factions extend their sway beyond central Mali, reaching into neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Currently, the UN mission sustains a camp within Timbuktu; however, its troops are scheduled to depart by the end of the year, despite significant portions of the country still eluding government authority.

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