Mali rebels 'shoot at US plane'

Sources say the aircraft was attacked after the US took part in a regional exercise.

    Major John Dorrian of the US command in Stuttgart, Germany said, however, that there had been slight damage to the C-130 aircraft.
      
    He said that the damage was most likely caused by "small arms fire, probably rifles".

    The attack followed a joint exercise involving US troops and the armies of several Sahel states, the vast region bordering the Sahara desert, aimed at countering the threat of terrorism in the region, officials, who asked not to be named, told the Reuters news agency.

    Attacks and ambushes

    Mali's armed forces have been searching for Tuareg rebels in the desolate northern mountain region of Tinzaouatene on the borders with Algeria and Niger after several attacks and ambushes in recent weeks.

    Earlier this month Mali appealed for international help to counter raids by the Tuaregs, who they also accuse of trafficking drugs and weapons.

    Washington has been helping the hunt for armed fighters in the region and expanded a series of programmes for training African militaries.

    The Bush administration has also approved the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI), which has economic, social and political components designed to complement military activities.

    Nomadic Tuaregs in northern Niger and Mali staged an uprising in the former French colonies in the 1990s.

    Tuaregs have long complained of being neglected and marginalised by governments ruling far away in the south.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.