Suspected extremists kill 10 Mali soldiers: security source

Malian security source said at least 10 soldiers died in the attack. (AFP/File)
Updated 21 April 2019

Suspected extremists kill 10 Mali soldiers: security source

  • Malian source said a camp in Guire town was attacked
  • A local resident said he heard gunfire in the area

BAMAKO, Mali: At least 10 Malian soldiers died Sunday in an attack by suspected jihadists in the center of the African country, a security source told AFP.

“There are at least 10 dead soliders,” the Malian source said. “Yes our camp at Guire was attacked on Sunday about five in the morning.”

“The terrorists came out of the forest. They were on motorcycles and pick-up trucks. They burnt vehicles and took away others,” said the source, who asked not to be named.

The Mali armed forces confirmed the attack on Twitter and said reinforcements were being sent to the Nara sector, about 370 kilometers north of the capital Bamako.

A local resident contacted by AFP said there was heavy gunfire and the military “were taken by surprise” in the attack.

“I saw two terrorists put their motorcycles in an army vehicle and drive off with it,” he said.

On Saturday a UN peacekeeper was killed and four others wounded when a mine exploded as their convoy passed through central Mali, the latest in continued violence.

The UN mission was established in Mali after radical militias seized the north of the country in 2012 before being pushed back by French troops in 2013.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability. But the accord has failed to stop the violence.

The latest attacks come as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita pursued consultations to pick a new prime minister — two days after the previous one, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, resigned with his entire cabinet, under fire from the ruling and opposition parties for failing to clamp down on the unrest.


Plastic particles in drinking water present ‘low’ risk — World Health Organization

Updated 54 min 5 sec ago

Plastic particles in drinking water present ‘low’ risk — World Health Organization

  • WHO issues first report on microplastics in drinking water
  • Reassures consumers that risk is low, but says more study needed
GENEVA: Microplastics contained in drinking water pose a “low” risk to human health at current levels, but more research is needed to reassure consumers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
Studies over the past year on plastic particles detected in tap and bottled water have sparked public concerns but the limited data appears reassuring, the UN agency said its first report on potential health risks associated with ingestion.
Microplastics enter drinking water sources mainly through run-off and wastewater effluent, the WHO said. Evidence shows that microplastics found in some bottled water seem to be at least partly due to the bottling process and/or packaging such as plastic caps, it said.
“The headline message is to reassure drinking water consumers around the world, that based on this assessment, our assessment of the risk is that it is low,” Bruce Gordon of the WHO’s department of public health, environmental and social determinants of health, told a briefing.
The WHO did not recommended routine monitoring for microplastics in drinking water. But research should focus on issues including what happens to chemical additives in the particles once they enter the gastrointestinal tract, it said.
The majority of plastic particles in water are larger than 150 micrometers in diameter and are excreted from the body, while “smaller particles are more likely to cross the gut wall and reach other tissues,” it said.
Health concerns have centered around smaller particles, said Jennifer De France, a WHO technical expert and one of the report’s authors.
“For these smallest size particles, where there is really limited evidence, we need know more about what is being absorbed, the distribution and their impacts,” she said.
More research is needed into risks from microplastics exposure throughout the environment — “in our drinking water, air and food,” she added.
Alice Horton, a microplastics researcher at Britain’s National Oceanography Center, said in a statement on the WHO’s findings: “There are no data available to show that microplastics pose a hazard to human health, however this does not necessarily mean that they are harmless.”
“It is important to put concerns about exposure to microplastics from drinking water into context: we are widely exposed to microplastics in our daily lives via a wide number of sources, of which drinking water is just one.”
Plastic pollution is so widespread in the environment that you may be ingesting five grams a week, the equivalent of eating a credit card, a study commissioned by the environmental charity WWF International said in June. That study said the largest source of plastic ingestion was drinking water, but another major source was shellfish.
The biggest overall health threat in water is from microbial pathogens — including from human and livestock waste entering water sources — that cause deadly diarrheal disease, especially in poor countries lacking water treatment systems, the WHO said.
Some 2 billion people drink water contaminated with faeces, causing nearly 1 million deaths annually, Gordon said, adding: “That has got to be the focus of regulators around the world.”