Blast kills dozens at Mali camp

GAO: At least 35 people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday when a bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives inside a military camp in Mali’s northern city of Gao, the worst militant attack in years in the Saharan West African nation.
A Reuters reporter who arrived at the camp soon after the blast, which occurred as hundreds of soldiers assembled at around 9 am (0900 GMT), said he saw dozens of bodies lying on the ground alongside the wounded.
Ambulances rushed to the scene and helicopters circled overhead as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita declared three days of national mourning.
“It’s terrible,” Gao resident Kader Touré said. “The attack happened while they were having an assembly. I’ve just left the hospital where there were bodies ripped to pieces and wounded piled up.”
State media put the death toll at 35 although Radhia Achouri, a spokeswoman for the 13,000-strong United Nations MINUSMA peacekeeping force, said it could rise as high as 50, with as many wounded.
“A vehicle smashed through the entrance of the camp, running over those who were in the way, before blowing up just as 600 men were assembling,” she said. “The priority is getting the wounded out to treatment centres.”— Reuters