Landmine in Mali kills three, wounds 28

Malian soldiers patrol on a road between Kidal and Gao on July 29, 2013 in northern Mali (AFP Photo/Kenzo Tribouillard)

Bamako (AFP) - Three civilians were killed when their minibus triggered a landmine in northern Mali on Thursday, a hospital source and a witness told AFP.

"We've had three bodies and 28 wounded here in the hospital in Gao," said a medical source in the northern city, adding that six people were in a serious condition.

A survivor told AFP the bus had been on its way to a weekly market 25 kilometres (16 miles) from Gao, the largest city in northern Mali.

"There was a noise and there was panic. Three people were killed," he said.

Northern Mali fell under the control of Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups for most of 2012 before they were ousted by a French-led military offensive.

The operation smashed their infrastructure but disparate separatist and Islamist rebel groups continue to carry out sporadic attacks against Malian and foreign troops across the northern desert.

New York-based Human Rights Watch warned of a continuing security crisis in Mali in a report published two weeks ago based on interviews with more than 150 victims and witnesses of conflict in Gao and Bamako.

"Two years after the military intervention by France in the crisis-hit country, anarchy and a general insecurity still reigns,".

"Rampant crime, attacks by armed groups and abuses committed by the security forces pose a risk to ordinary people in central and northern Mali," Corinne Dufka, head of HRW for west Africa, was quoted as saying.