13 killed in central Mali after bus hits explosive device

September 4, 2019 GMT

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A Mali government official says that 13 civilians have been killed after their bus hit an explosive device on the road from Gao to Mopti in central Mali.

Amadou Sangho, spokesman for Mali’s Civilan Protections minister, said Wednesday that several others were injured in the attack Tuesday between Gao and Douentza on the main road that links Mali’s north to the center.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, though it resembles other attacks by extremist groups linked to al-Qaida in the region.

Mali has long battled Islamic extremism in its far north, with a French-led military intervention dispersing jihadists from the region’s major towns. The extremists have infiltrated communities much further south in recent years, stoking animosity between ethnic groups in the region with a much larger population.