Witness recounts Mali nightclub attack

WEB_PHOTO_MALIATTACK_090315

The exterior of La Terrasse restaurant, where suspected militants killed five people in a gun attack.

The exterior of La Terrasse restaurant, where suspected militants killed five people in a gun attack.

WEB_PHOTO_MALIATTACK_090315

The exterior of La Terrasse restaurant, where suspected militants killed five people in a gun attack.

The exterior of La Terrasse restaurant, where suspected militants killed five people in a gun attack.

BAMAKO – Zacharia Maiga from the capital city of Bamako was at the La Terrasse restaurant on Saturday when the venue was attacked by suspected jihadists.

He was with a friend who was killed during the deadly incident.

"He and I were dancing side by side and suddenly there was a strange noise. Then I thought to myself that a speaker must have blown or maybe it was someone&39;s birthday and there was a fire cracker. And right away suddenly there was a second blast and that&39;s when I understood it wasn&39;t part of the celebration. So I automatically hit the ground. Everything happened so fast. I didn&39;t see anything. I crawled on my elbows. From there I got out on the west side to jump from the roof. When I was safe I tried to call him. The phone rang but he didn&39;t pick up,” said Maiga.

The government of Mali condemned Saturday’s attack, in which three Malians, a Belgian and a Frenchman died.

Al-Murabitoun, a jihadist group run by a leading Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It said in an audio recording carried by Mauritanian news agency Al-Akbar that  the operation was carried out “to avenge our prophet against the unbelieving West which has insulted and mocked him".

As the investigation got under way, the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force said one of its troops and two civilians had been killed by militants shelling its barracks in the north-eastern rebel stronghold of Kidal.

Meanwhile, counter-terrorism investigators arrived from Paris overnight to aid Mali&39;s hunt for the killers of five people.

A security source confirmed the information, saying: "They will work on Saturday&39;s incident hand-in-hand with their Malian colleagues."
 
Police patrols have been stepped up in Bamako.