Weapons fire shook the northern Malian town of Gao on Thursday as Malian army troops backed by French and West African forces battled Islamist militants. A Mali defense ministry official said the army continues to repel attacks by what he called “terrorists.”
The sounds of gunfire could be heard as Gao residents talked to VOA by phone on Thursday morning. One man said machine-gun fire and cannon fire “roared” around the mayor’s office in the center of town.
Residents said the battle began Wednesday night around 11:30 p.m. local time, when some armed militants attacked positions in central Gao. The weapon fire continued into Thursday morning, and the French news agency reported that the town’s main courthouse was in flames. . .