Gunman kills three at Christian radio station in Mali
- Posted on: 18th Dec 2015 14:21:52 GMT +0300
A gunman killed three people outside a Christian radio station in the Malian city of Timbuktu overnight, local officials said on Friday.
"Three people, including a radio host from 'Tahanite', the Christian station in Timbuktu, were in front of (the station) when an armed man came to shoot them dead before fleeing," a local government official told AFP.
A senior official in the governor's office confirmed a radio presenter was among the victims, as well as "at least one Catholic", pointing the finger at Islamic extremists.
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"Terrorists who do not want to hear about other religions except Islam are, for me, the perpetrators of this crime," he told AFP.
"It is a jihadist attack aimed at dividing Muslims and Catholics but they will never succeed."
A Malian security source described the ambush as "a cowardly murder perpetrated by those who want to start a war of religions".
Widely known as "Timbuktu's Christian station", Tahanite -- a private broadcaster which its name from the Tuareg word for "pity" -- produces programmes focused on the Bible and is known for its close ties to the local evangelical Christian mission.
During the 2012 occupation of Timbuktu by jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda, the station's Bible-related output was banned.
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Mali's desert north was overrun by armed Islamists for several months before its main towns and cities were liberated by a French-led military intervention in January 2013.
The vast territory around the size of France remains deeply unstable however, with sectarian violence rife and large swathes of land beyond government control.