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Car Bomb Attack Leaves at Least 37 Dead on Military Base in Northern Mali

© AFP 2021 / SOULEYMANE AG ANARAMalian police patrol with German UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeping forces on May 18, 2016 in Gao, northern mali
Malian police patrol with German UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeping forces on May 18, 2016 in Gao, northern mali - Sputnik International
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A powerful blast on Wednesday at a military camp in Mali's northern city of Gao left 37 dead, AFP reports citing a source in the UN.

"A suicide attack at a Gao camp. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita decrees a three-day national mourning," the presidential office tweeted, saying a delegation, headed by Malian Defense Minister Abdoulaye Maiga, was on its way.

Earlier, Reuters reported that 25 people were killed in the blast, citing a provisional death toll announced by the army.

Tight security surrounds Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as he visits the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The military base was housing government soldiers as well as members of various rival armed groups, who together conduct mixed patrols in line with a UN-brokered peace deal aimed at quelling violence in Mali's restive desert north.

Following the explosion, French Minister of the Interior Bruno Le Roux called it a "major and symbolic attack."

Malian President Ibrahim Keita declared three days of national mourning on Wednesday, his office said.

France has been aiding Malian forces to reclaim the country’s north from Islamist insurgents since 2013. But rights advocacy groups, such as Human Rights Watch, repeatedly accused Mali's government of failing to protect the local population from jihadist groups.

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