Attack on Mali camp for people fleeing violence kills 11

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An attack by suspected Islamic extremists on a camp outside Gao sheltering individuals who had earlier fled violence in northern Mali has left 11 people dead, officials said Thursday.

The assailants also destroyed the camp’s food stocks and stole all the livestock, former Gao Mayor Sadou Diallo said.

The U.N. confirmed Monday’s attack in a statement, although authorities in the Gao region have not yet reported it.

“These (internally displaced people) fleeing insecurity are doubly affected by the violence of this attack, further exacerbating their vulnerability,” said U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Alain Noudehou.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack bears the hallmarks of militants linked to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara group, which targets civilians in the Gao and Menaka region.

The attack near Gao comes amid growing fears about extremist violence in Mali following the departure of French forces earlier this year after nine years of helping fight militants in the West African country. France's departure came amid deteriorating relations with Col. Assimi Goita, who seized power in Mali two years ago.

Goita has become increasingly isolated from Mali's one-time international partners. The UK recently announced it would be withdrawing its 300 peacekeepers from Mali, saying the country’s growing reliance on Russian mercenaries is undermining stability.

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Terrible, terrible, terrible.

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