Two civilians who were working for the European Union were killed in an Islamist attack on a Mali tourist resort. The four attackers, who had also held 36 hostages, were killed and other five suspected jihadists are being held in custody over the Sunday attacks (18 June). EU chief of diplomacy Federica Mogherini confirmed that the two victims were “our colleagues – a Malian woman and a Portuguese man”. She added that their deaths demonstrated how strongly the EU ties with the African country and the region as they are struggling to deal with the extreme poverty and an increasing terror threat.
Extremists are very active in the north and center of the country but attacks on civilians in and around the capital of Bamako are relatively rare. The EU has an advisory mission that helps train the Malian armed forces and a delegation in Bamako. Mrs. Mogherini stressed that the EU stands together with Africans “in our fight against terrorism” and added that “these are difficult and dramatic hours which testify to how European and Africans are brothers and sisters in both the fight against terrorism and in the solidarity of our response to it”.
EU foreign ministers were meeting in Luxembourg yesterday (19 June) to address counter-terrorism issues as well as the Africa-EU partnership and European support to Mali and the Sahel region. Brussels recently decided to provide additional funding of €50 million to the G5 Sahel joint counter-terrorism force. “Our partnership is very strong and will be consolidated, strengthened on the occasion of the Africa-EU summit this November,” Mrs. Mogherini commented.