A suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint in the Malian city of Gao today, the first time such a bombing attack has been carried out since the French invasion. None of the soldiers at the checkpoint were reported killed in the attack.
Locals say that the attacker, named Al Farouk, had lived int he town for about seven months and was affiliated with jihadists. The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa claimed credit for the attack.
With this and the growing number of improvised explosive attacks against military convoys, it seems more and more apparent that the rebel movement, having withdrawn from Mali’s cities, are now engaged in a more straightforward insurgency.
Despite a large number of air strikes, Mali’s rebel leadership has more or less remained untouched, and has moved into a series of caves and tunnels in the northern desert which will be extremely difficult to unseat them from. This could set the stage for a protracted war.