Paris – French special forces led a pre-dawn operation in northern Mali on Thursday and freed five humanitarian workers who had been held captive by a “terrorist group” – killing about 10 of the alleged militants, officials said.
Working off intelligence tips, the French forces intercepted two pickup trucks carrying the hostage-takers and their captives north of Timbuktu, in a vast region on the Sahara’s southern rim.
In a joint statement Thursday, the presidents of France and Mali said the five Malian aid workers – including four with the International Committee for the Red Cross – were in good health.
12 killed when mob attacks U.N. base
JUBA, South Sudan – An angry mob of South Sudanese youths attacked a U.N. base on Thursday in order to harm members of an ethnic minority sheltering inside. Peacekeepers were forced to open fire, amid violence that killed at least 12 people, officials said.
The U.N. mission in South Sudan condemned the “unprovoked attack” and called for a full investigation into the “heinous murders.”
The attackers forced their way into a camp in Bor in Jonglei state where some 5,000 ethnic Nuers have sought safety since fighting in South Sudan broke out in mid-December.
Nigerians search for abducted girls
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Able-bodied men from the Nigerian town of Chibok have taken to the dangerous Sambisa Forest to search for more than 100 abducted girls and young women whom the military claimed to have freed from their Islamic extremist kidnappers, an education official said Thursday.
Six more have managed to escape their captors on their own, bringing to 20 the number that are free, the education commissioner of Borno state told reporters.
Thousands flee volcano eruption
LIMA, Peru – Peruvian authorities have ordered the preventative evacuation of 4,000 people living near the Ubinas volcano, which has been spouting ash clouds up to 2 miles high.
The 18,609-foot Ubinas is Peru’s most active volcano. Its most recent strong eruption period occurred from 2006-09.
Militants attack Iraq military base
BAGHDAD – Militants launched a brazen attack on a military base in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 10 soldiers and wounding 12, officials said.
The morning attack at the base outside the city of Mosul started with a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives-laden truck at the gates of the facility, officials said.
Gunmen then opened fire from apparently commandeered military Humvees and a shootout ensued. At least 10 troops were killed. Eight militants also died in the fighting.