Mali – Kidnapping – Drugs

Mali scare mongering after hostage-taking in Bamako

APA - Bamako (Mali)

The security forces in Mali have put paid to a hostage situation involving drug traffickers.

On Sunday afternoon, residents of the Missabougou neighbourhood in eastern Bamako heard gunfire near the hospital. 

Initially, there were rumours of a clash between Malian security forces and suspected jihadists.

 Mali has been fighting a jihadist insurgency for a decade. 

The main coalition of organisations linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), last July made daring raids on the garrison town of Kati, some 20 kilometres from Bamako and considered the heart of the power embodied by colonels since the May 2021 coup against Bah N'dao.

The comments went well on social media before a statement from the transitional government provides details about the event. 

According to the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection, "a special unit of the security forces intervened to free hostages and apprehend members of a group of criminals and drug traffickers who were holding them in Missabougou, not far from the Mali hospital''.

 The statement seen by APA explains that "since 18 November, members of a family had been kidnapped by the hostage takers in return for the payment of a ransom of 900 million CFA francs or failing that, to provide information to locate the cocaine intercepted by Malian customs. 

Last August, Malian customs officials intercepted 160 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of US$12.5 million along the border with Guinea.

 The link between this case and the Missabougou hostage crisis has not yet been established. 

But the Malian authorities say Sunday's operation in the Bamako neighbourhood "freed ten hostages, including three women and six children" and "arrested four criminals, including a French-Senegalese, two French and a French-Malian".

 In a clip widely shared on social media on Sunday evening, individuals believed to be the arrested hostage-takers are shown with their faces uncovered.


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