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Gunmen attack Bamako base of EU military training mission in Mali

Unidentified men have struck a hotel converted into a military base for an EU training mission in Mali. One attacker was killed after guards opened fire, according to an eyewitness.

Gunmen attacked the Azalai Hotel Nord-Sud in Mali's capital, Bamako on Monday, news agencies reported.

The

European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM)

said none of its soldiers had been hurt or injured in the attack.

The hotel had been converted into a base for nearly 600 soldiers of the EUTM.

"The attackers tried to force through the entry and the guards posted in front of the entrance opened fire. One attacker was killed. The gunfire continued for several minutes," an eye witness near the hotel told Reuters news service.

Mali's north has been riddled with conflict ever since the Ansar Dine, an al-Qaeda-linked outfit seized control of the region in 2012 with the aim of establishing an Islamic state. The north is also home to the Tuareg rebels, who initially led the uprising in Mali - even fighting along Ansar Dine for a period, before being sidelined by the Islamists.

Security forces have been on high alert in Mali since last year, when Islamic terrorists attacked the

Radisson Blu hotel

in the capital Bamako, taking more than 170 guests hostage and killing 18.

Malian soldiers are being supported by over 3,500 French troops. Over 200 German soldiers are deployed in the country as part of the EUTM, with

Berlin promising to send 650 more.

Over 10,000 international troops are stationed in the nation as part of the UN's mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

mg/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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