These photos, sent in by one of our Observers in the northern Malian city of Kidal, are the first images we have received from this remote city since it was retaken from Islamist extremists by French and Malian forces. These exclusive photos show the aftermath of a suicide bombing that took place at a checkpoint on Tuesday evening.
The car bomb exploded at a checkpoint in Kidal’s southeastern neighbourhood of Aliou, not far from a French military camp. The Islamist extremist group Mujao (Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The city of Kidal is located in the far north of the country, near the border with Algeria and Niger. The French army has blocked all journalists from going there.
Photos sent in by our Observer showing the pickup truck that was targeted by the suicide bomber.

"We don’t feel safe in Kidal despite the army’s presence"

Moussa Ag Targa (not his real name) lives in Kidal.
I was in my home, located near the neighbourhood of Aliou, when I heard a huge explosion at about 7p.m. on Tuesday. The explosion was much bigger than the last one, on Friday. [This incident was the third such attack in Kidal in just a week: on Thursday, February 21, the French army camp was the target of a suicide attack. The next day, another attack took place at a base belonging to the armed Tuareg rebel group MNLA, which had at first worked hand in hand with the Islamic extremist groups to capture northern Mali. Five people were killed in this attack.]
A pickup truck drove right into another truck that had a machine gun mounted on it. [It remains unclear who this vehicle belonged to. Two Tuareg groups – the MNLA and the MIA, which is composed of Tuaregs that splintered from the Islamic extremist group Ansar Dine – both claim that they were the target of this attack.] In the photos you can see pieces of the vehicle that exploded as well as the charred remains of the Tuaregs’ pickup truck.
The remains of the car that exploded.
Six people were killed and one more was wounded in the attack. (The MNLA has said seven of its members died.) The wounded man was taken to the hospital. His hand was amputated, and he’s suffering horribly.
Many of the city’s residents went to the scene of the explosion the next day to see the destruction for themselves. Everyone here is very afraid. We don’t feel safe in Kidal, despite the presence of the army and numerous roadblocks. Everybody shuts themselves up in their homes as soon as night falls.
Post written with FRANCE 24 Journalist Alexandre Capron (@alexcapron).