Published March 23, 2013
DAKAR, Senegal – The mayor of Gao confirms that radical Islamists attacked his city in northern Mali, but were pushed back by Malian soldiers.
Mayor Sadou Diallo says the Islamists infiltrated from two different directions late Saturday, including from villages across the Niger River, but Malian troops later regained control of the city.
For nearly 10 months, Gao was under the control of the Movement for the Oneness of Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, which imposed a brutal form of Shariah law, amputating the limbs of accused thieves in a square that became known as "Shariah Square." In January, the city was liberated by French troops, but since then it has repeatedly been attacked by suspected MUJAO fighters who have carried out suicide attacks.