Islamic extremists who stormed a resort area in Mali popular with foreigners killed five people, including a Portuguese soldier who had been serving in the European Union mission to stabilize this West African country wracked by mounting extremism, authorities said Monday.
The death toll rose after a Malian soldier who was wounded in the Sunday afternoon attack died of his injuries. Three civilians — a Chinese citizen, a Malian, and a French-Gabonese dual national — also were slain in the worst terror attack to strike Bamako since late 2015.
Islam (/ˈɪslɑːm/; Arabic: الإسلام, IPA: [alʔisˈlaːm]) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which professes that there is only one and incomparable God (Allah) and that Muhammad is the last messenger of God. It is the world’s second-largest religion and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with over 1.8 billion followers or 24.1% of the global population, known as Muslims. Islam teaches that God who is merciful, all-powerful, and unique has guided mankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE).
Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. As for the Quran, Muslims consider it to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded paradise and unrighteous are punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment. The cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.
Islam originated in the early 7th century in Mecca, and by the 8th century the Islamic empire extended from Iberia in the west to the Indus River in the east. The Islamic Golden Age refers to the period traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century when much of the historically Islamic world was experiencing a scientific, economic and cultural flourishing. The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities.
Most Muslims are of one of two denominations: Sunni (75–90%) or Shia (10–20%). About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, 31% in South Asia, the largest population of Muslims in the world, 23% in the Middle East-North Africa, where it is the dominant religion, and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sizable Muslim communities are also found in the Americas, Caucasus, China, Europe, Mainland Southeast Asia, Philippines and Russia. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.
Islamic extremists kill 5 people at Mali resort
Extremism means, literally “the quality or state of being extreme” or “advocacy of extreme measures or views”.
Nowadays, the term is mostly used in a political or religious sense, for an ideology that is considered (by the speaker or by some implied shared social consensus) to be far outside the (acceptable) mainstream attitudes of society. But extremism can, for example, also be meant in an economic sense.
The term “extremism” is usually meant to be pejorative; that is, to express (strong) disapproval. However, it may also be meant in a more academic, purely descriptive, non-condemning sense.
Extremists are usually contrasted with centrists or moderates. For example, in contemporary discussions in Western countries of Islam or of Islamic political movements, the distinction between extremist (implying “bad”) and moderate (implying “good”) Muslims is typically stressed.
Political agendas perceived as extremist often include those from the far-left politics or far-right politics, as well as radicalism, reactionism, fundamentalism, and fanaticism.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the Malian victim worked for the European delegation in Bamako.
The attack struck a resort area that was considered safe enough that it was an approved rest and recreation location for soldiers with the EU mission. It was not immediately clear how the attackers managed to overpower the security staff and shoot at guests.
Islamic extremists kill 5 people at Mali resort
Mali’s special forces arrived on the scene not long after the reports of gunfire erupting from Campement Kangaba, known for its three swimming pools and serene surroundings as an escape from the bustling capital’s heat and traffic.
Initially the country’s security minister said one of the wounded attackers had managed to escape but on Monday officials said they had accounted for all the jihadists.
“At this hour, all of the terrorists have been killed. The situation is under control,” Mali’s Security Minister Salif Traore told The Associated Press.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene Sunday afternoon, with one man saying the first jihadist on the scene arrived by motorcycle shouting “Allah Akbar.” Three others subsequently arrived in a vehicle and began firing their weapons. One of the attackers was subdued by a French soldier who happened to be at Campement Kangaba on the weekend, according to a witness at the scene. The attacker was wounded and later died.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place amid the final week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. However, the attack resembled a number of others carried out by the local affiliate of al-Qaida in West Africa over the past two years.
Sunday’s violence also came about a week after the U.S. State Department warned of possible attacks on Western diplomatic missions and other locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent.
Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, prompting the French military in 2013 to lead a military operation to oust jihadis from power in the major towns in the north. But the militants have continued targeting Malian forces and peacekeepers, making it the deadliest U.N. mission in the world.
There are no French troops based in Bamako, but about 2,000 French troops are based in northern Mali fighting Islamic extremists. French President Emmanuel Macron was informed about the attack and was following the events carefully, according to an official in his office.
In recent years, the extremists have become more brazen, attacking sites frequented by Westerners in the capital of Bamako.
In March 2015, five people died when militants hit a popular restaurant in the capital. A devastating attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako later that year left 20 dead — six Malians and 14 foreigners.
That attack was jointly claimed by both the regional al-Qaida affiliate and a group known as Al Mourabitoun, which was founded by extremist Moktar Belmoktar after he fell out with al-Qaida leaders. In a video released in March, jihadis said those two were joining together along with two Mali-based terror groups.
Associated Press writers Lorne Cook in Brussels; Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal; and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.