Fresh clashes between Malian troops and Islamist extremists
Gao: Severe ongoing clashes were reported between Malian troops and suspected Islamists extremists here as per reports. The clashes between the two sides began near the central police station but have now spread to heavy gunfire on the streets, as per a BBC report.
The clashes have taken place a day after a suicide bomber blew himself at about 11 pm at a checkpoint to enter the city, the second such attack in this northern Malian city since Friday. The bomber set off the explosive belt he was wearing, killing himself and injuring a Malian soldier.
The explosion occurred in the same place where an earlier suicide bomber killed himself on Friday morning.
France intervened in its former colony on Jan 11, after the Islamic militants began pushing south, raising alarm that they were inching closer toward the capital.
France has said that it wants to hand over responsibility to the Malian military and other African nations that have contributed troops. It also has raised with the United Nations Security Council the possibility of establishing a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali.
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