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At Least 27 Dead as Gunmen Seize Over 100 Hostage at Mali Hotel, Qaida-linked Group Claims Attack

Jihadist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Friday, firing automatic weapons and seizing more than 100 guests and staff in a hostage-taking that left at least 27 people dead.

Special forces staged a dramatic floor-by-floor rescue at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, according to local television and security sources, to end the nine-hour siege.

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No Country for Young Men: Mali Loses Youth to Migrant Crisis

Once bustling with sinewy young men like any other farming village in rural Mali, Kodjan is starting to look distinctly grey.

Little by little, the demographics of the settlement are altering as its youth join the exodus of African migrants looking for a better life in Europe.

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Mali Armed Groups Sign Peace Deal

Former Tuareg rebels in northern Mali and rival pro-government armed groups said they sealed a peace deal Thursday to end hostilities after days of talks.

Mali was hit by violence between the two sides in August and September despite a peace deal signed earlier this year.

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Drug Trafficking Fueling Mali Conflict, Minister

Drug trafficking is a major problem fueling the conflict in Mali and impeding the peace process, the country's foreign minister said Thursday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

"Drug trafficking is really a major concern," Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told reporters after a U.N. meeting on Mali.

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Islamist in War Crimes Court This Week for Timbuktu Destruction

Alleged al-Qaida-linked Islamist leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi will make an initial appearance before the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, facing charges of ordering the destruction of monuments in Mali's fabled city of Timbuktu.

Faqi was handed over by Niger early Saturday to the ICC, where he is wanted for war crimes relating to the destruction of religious buildings and historical monuments in the ancient landmark.

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Study: Mali among the U.N.'s Deadliest Missions

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali is one of the deadliest missions in the history of the U.N. blue helmets, with 60 deaths, Stockholm research institute Sipri said Monday.

In its report "Fatality Trends in U.N. Peace Operations", the Stockholm  International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said a total of 1,938 U.N. soldiers had been killed since the first U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Middle East in 1948, but almost three-quarters of those were due to accidents or were natural deaths.

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Loyalist Fighters Clash with ex-Rebels in Mali

Fighters from Mali's former rebel alliance clashed with pro-government militias on Thursday in the restive northeastern region of Kidal, security sources and the opposing sides told AFP. 

The two groups accused each other of starting the fighting, breaching a peace deal signed by the governmental camp on May 15 and the rebels on June 20.

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Islamists Kill Policeman in Mali

Islamists from a group linked to a deadly hotel siege have attacked a police post in central Mali, killing an officer, military and local government sources said Sunday. 

"On Saturday, armed Islamists fired on three gendarmes in Bankass, at a security post," said a Malian army source in the regional capital Mopti, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) away, adding that one of the officers died.  

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Two Mali Soldiers Killed in Timbuktu Attack

Two Malian soldiers were killed Tuesday in a pre-dawn attack against an army checkpoint outside Timbuktu in northern Mali, the defense ministry and a U.N. source told AFP.

"We lost two men this Tuesday at about 3am (0300 GMT) at our checkpoint north of Timbuktu," a defense ministry official said. The attack by unknown assailants was confirmed by a security source at MINUSMA, the U.N. mission in the country.

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French Soldier Killed in Friendly Fire in Mali

A French soldier has been killed by a colleague in "accidental fire" in an army camp in Mali, the army said on Saturday. 

Marine Baptiste Truffaux was shot by a fellow soldier on Thursday at a camp in Gao. 

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