A masked gunman sprayed bullets in a nightclub popular with foreigners in Mali's capital early today, killing at least five people there and in a subsequent shooting spree. Among those killed at La Terrasse in Bamako were a French citizen and a Belgian security officer for the European Union. The attack also wounded nine people, including two Swiss soldiers in Mali with a UN mission. Police say a hooded gunman burst into the bar and restaurant and opened fire, then fled into a waiting car driven by an accomplice.
"As they fled down a neighboring street, they shot a Belgian man who was in front of his house," a senior police officer tells Reuters. "He's dead. Not far away they came across a police vehicle and threw a grenade, killing the driver." French forces led a military operation in early 2013 that largely expelled al-Qaeda extremists from a vast area they had controlled in northeastern Mali. The military operation in that region continues, and sporadic combat and clashes take place there. Violence has been rare in Bamako despite the continued upheaval in the north. (Read more Mali stories.)