French citizen among those killed in Mali attack

Also gunned down in the attack on a restaurant in the capital Bamako was a Belgian security officer with the EU delegation in Mali.

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Militants killed at least five people in a gun attack on a restaurant in Mali's capital in the early hours of Saturday, including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer with the EU delegation in the country, authorities said, reports FRANCE 24.

Mali's desert north, where French forces wrested control of territory from separatist rebels and al Qaeda-linked fighters, is plagued by frequent political violence -- but this is the first militant attack for years in Bamako, in the south.

Three Malians were killed in the violence in and around La Terrasse restaurant, which is popular with expatriates, the government said. The attack began at around 1am (0100 GMT) and left nine people wounded, said a senior security official, adding that two people had been arrested.

Senior police officer Falaye Kanté said, "There were two individuals who were armed and hooded. One burst into the La Terrasse restaurant and opened fire on people. Then he got into a vehicle in which the other was waiting."

"As they fled down a neighbouring street, they shot a Belgian man who was in front of his house. He's dead. Not far away they came across a police vehicle and threw a grenade, killing the driver," he told Reuters.

Those killed included a girl who died in hospital, Kanté said. Witnesses said police secured the street where the restaurant shooting took place because of unexploded grenades.

Dozens of police officers secured the area but the few witnesses to the attack were initially refusing to testify, fearing reprisals.

The French embassy in Bamako issued a message to all French nationals in the city to exercise caution if they had to leave their homes.

 Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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