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US Officials Saw Deadly Mali Attack Coming, Report Reveals

© AP Photo / Harouna TraorePeople run to flee from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015.
People run to flee from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. - Sputnik International
About two years before Islamic militants killed 22 people at a hotel in Bamako, Mali, in November, local experts told US officials to "anticipate" an attack in the West African nation's capital, according to a US report.

One American was among those killed last month when militants stormed a  Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.

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The December 2013 State Department Anti-terrorism Assistance report, created following a visit to Mali by State Department and Africom personnel, gave an unfavorable assessment of the nation’s anti-terrorism capabilities.

The report, obtained by The Intercept via a Freedom of Information Act request, characterized the north of the country as at risk from a number of terror groups that "remain able to evade French pursuit."

The south was portrayed as more secure, though the report speaks of "a small number of experts," who told the authors to "anticipate a terrorist attack in Bamako at some point."

Despite decades of US partnership, the government in Mali, according to the report, "lacks a national security strategy" and "has no national level incident management system." The "security forces investigative capabilities are deficient in many areas," according to sources, and their "abilities to manage crime scenes effectively and identify and collect evidentiary material at the scene of a terrorist incident are limited."

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Since 1990, the United States has provided Mali with extensive anti-terrorism aid, including training of its security forces by US military.

Mali Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, according to the New York Times, "received extensive training in the United States between 2004 and 2010."

In 2012, Sanogo overthrew Mali's democratically elected president. After the coup, the country began to fall to Islamist rebels.

Following the 2013 antiterrorism assessment, US State Department counterterrorism funds for Mali in 2014 and 2015 were earmarked for "crisis response training in and around Bamako," an anonymous State Department official told The Intercept.

The efforts of Mali's government to draft counterterrorism legislation and reorganize its security forces apparently hampered US efforts, the official added.

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