A masked gunman opened fire on a restaurant in Bamako, the capital of Mali very early this morning, killing five people. Two Europeans - a Frenchman and a Belgian - and three Malians.
The gunman stormed La Terrasse restaurant, which was filled with UN workers, Europeans and Malians and fired indiscriminately, killing five.
Two people have been arrested in connection with the attack.
"This was a terrorist attack. It’s absolutely clear,” said the security official, an army officer who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The attack took place in Hippodrome, a neighborhood of the capital that contains a number of bars and restaurants frequented by foreigners.
From one moment to the next, a festive Friday night at La Terrasse, crowded with United Nations workers and other Europeans, turned into a pandemonium of bullets, blood, and fear, witnesses said. A lone gunman burst into the restaurant, witnesses said, and began firing at tables where Europeans were seated, at point-blank range.
“We were laughing, talking. Suddenly these people came inside,” said a Swedish health worker, Reidun Runften, who had been dancing at the bar. “It was boom, boom, boom,” she said. “I was very close to the bar, and we just went under there. We didn’t move because they were shooting a lot,” she said.
When she looked up, a young Malian woman — the girlfriend of a European sitting next to her — was lying on the floor, blood coming from her neck, said Ms. Runften.