WASHINGTON — Islamist militants attacked the northern Malian city of Gao in a renewed guerrilla war, military sources said.
Reuters reported that artillery fire hit the town Monday, and was the first time since May 2013 that any violence had taken place within or around the city.
One soldier was injured and one house was damaged by artillery fire, Gao municipal official Idrissa Cisse told Reuters. Cisse said it was mortar fire, while the military said it was caused by rocket fire.
Gao was the first city liberated from radical Islamist militants that threatened to take over the Malian government and the entire country, aided by disgruntled Tuareg rebels. The French intervened with its military and decimated the Islamist fighters, who quickly retreated to their northern mountain strongholds. Soon after, the French military withdrew and left the United Nations and neighboring African nations with the responsibility to repel the Islamists and rebuild Mali. The U.N. is planning on sending about 12,600 soldiers and police officers to stabilize the country.
The new Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, was elected this past August and made security a top priority as the Malian military fights the remnants of the Islamist insurgency in northern Mali.