Those who charge that concern over murders like these is just “Islamophobia” should kindly point out when Muslims have ever screamed “Allahu akbar” and then performed an act of charity, generosity, or magnanimity.
A hooded assailant has killed five people including a Frenchman and a Belgian in a gun and grenade attack on a nightclub popular with expatriates in Mali’s capital Bamako.
A policeman, a security guard and a young woman were the three Malians who died.
The attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” (Arabic for ‘God is great’) as he burst into the nightclub, La Terrasse, at about one am and sprayed bullets from an automatic rifle, witnesses said.
French troops intervened in the west African country two years ago against groups linked with al-Qaeda.
The Frenchman was shot dead in the first-floor bar. The Belgian, a security officer with the European Union delegation in Bamako, was killed in front of his house in a nearby street as the attacker made his getaway in a car driven by an accomplice who also wore a hood concealing his face, police said.
As they drove away, the attacker hurled a grenade at a police car, killing the policeman.
Nine people were wounded, including two Swiss soldiers serving as UN experts, who were described as being in “stable but critical condition”, and a Swiss woman.
Two suspects were arrested, police said.
No group has claimed responsibility. French troops intervened in Mali two years ago against extremists linked with al-Qaeda who had overrun more than half of the west African country.
French troops rushed to the nightclub minutes after the attack and the area was cordoned off by Malian soldiers while they searched for unexploded grenades.
A local resident told France Info radio that gunfire continued for at least 10 minutes. “I saw a flash, I heard shooting and saw people running in all directions,” he said.
The French embassy advised French residents of Bamako to stay at home where possible and to exercise caution if they went out. More than 6,000 French citizens live in the city.
French and Belgian leaders condemned what President François Hollande described as a “cowardly attack”. Mr Hollande said he had offered the Malian president, Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, “the aid of France” to combat extremism.
Three months after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, said he was “horrified” by the attack in Bamako. “We will never yield,” he said in a tweet.
France, the former colonial power in Mali and several other north and west African countries, has 3,000 troops in the region whose role is to prevent jihadist groups from seizing territory.
French forces intervened in Mali in January 2013 after Islamist groups took control of the vast deserts in the north of the country, imposed sharia law, and started advancing towards the capital in the more fertile south.
The French drove them out of towns in the north, including Timbuktu, but the Islamists continue to roam across the desert and carry out attacks. However, this is the first such violence for years in the capital. About 1,000 French soldiers are still based in Mali….