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Restaurant attack Swiss army personnel injured in Mali

Mali police arrive on the crime scene in the capital Bamako

(Keystone)

Two Swiss military experts have been injured in an attack on a restaurant in the capital of Mali.

The Swiss defence ministry said the incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday when unknown assailants opened fire on guests in a restaurant in Bamako.

The two Swiss are said to be critical but in a stable condition and underwent surgery in a nearby hospital before being flown out to neighbouring Senegal for further treatment.

The victims will be repatriated as soon as possible according to a spokesman for the Swiss Armed Forces International Command.

A third Swiss escaped the attack by suspected Islamic militant sunharmed.

At least five people were killed - including two Europeans -  in one of the deadliest attacks in the West African country since January 2013. The Mali government has been trying to fight Islamic militants in the north of country for the past few years.

International missions

Neutral Switzerland has currently five army members stationed in Mali as part of United Nations peace support missions. They have been working as experts on de-mining and weapons destruction.

It is the second violent incident in more than a decade involving Swiss army members serving abroad, according to defence ministry officials. 

In 2004, two Swiss soldiers taking part in an international reconstruction project in Afghanistan were injured in a rocket attack.

The Swiss Armed Forces have been involved in international missions since 1953. There are about 300 men and women serving in 18 countries around the world.

Its largest contingent is stationed in southeast Europe as part of the International Kosovo Force (KFOR).


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