Conflict & Justice

Mali men arrested with explosives


A Malian carries on a cart the corpse of a suicide bomber who blew himself up near a group of Malian soldiers Feb. 8, 2013, in the northern city of Gao, where Islamist rebels driven from the town have resorted to guerilla attacks.



Soldiers arrested two men in northern Mali with explosives strapped to their bodies Saturday.

The arrests come one day after the country's first suicide bombing since the start of the French-led offensive to oust Islamic extremists from the north.

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The men were riding donkeys when they were stopped on a road about 12 miles north of Gao that leads into northern Mali's biggest city, UPI reported.

"The men were stopped at a checkpoint on the road from Bourem," military spokesman Modibo Traore told The Associated Press.

On the same road Friday, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up at a military checkpoint, killing himself and injuring one person.

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A larger bomb that he was also carrying failed to go off.

The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility for the Friday attack, according to UPI.

Radio France Internationale said Saturday that Malian authorities had issued arrest warrants for the leaders of MUJAO as well as Ansar Dine and the Tuareg separatist group MNLA.

The militant groups have been linked to unrest in the country's north.