Explosion rips through military camp in Mali

A suicide bombing targeting militia groups committed to restoring peace in Mali left around 50 people dead and struck a fresh blow at long-running efforts to stabilise the troubled north.

The terrorists' cynical crime in Gao "cannot have any justification", Putin said.

Boubacar said a further 115 people had also been injured. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks and kidnappings in the region, including a hotel siege in Burkina Faso in January 2016 that led to the death of at least 28 people.

French President Francois Hollande, who attended a Franco-African summit in Mali's capital Bamako on Saturday, condemned the attack and reiterated France's support in implementing peace and reconciliation agreements in Mali. The Islamists sidelined the rebels to take sole control.

The joint patrols, which also include regular Malian army troops, are supposed to help prepare for the reorganisation of the army.

"There was no other objective behind this attack than to derail the peace process by undermining confidence between the parties and the population that aims to undermine the most recent progress in the security arrangements for the peace agreement", he said.

The attackers set parts of the camp on fire before taking off. Dismembered bodies could still be seen two hours after the blast.

Local residents told the Reuters news agency that the attack happened as an assembly was taking place.

"Peace remains fragile", he added.

However, the offices of the United Nations peacekeeping mission located next to the airport terminal were razed by a truck-bomb explosion last month.

Mali has struggled with instability and Islamist extremists for years.

The camp was set up under a 2015 peace deal signed between the government and loyalist militias following a French-led worldwide military intervention launched in 2013 and which is still in place.

The United Nations has deployed 13,000 troops in Mali while France, the former colonial power, has an additional 4,000 soldiers stationed there.

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