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07/08/2015 05:26 EDT | Actualisé 08/08/2015 09:46 EDT

Au moins 12 morts durant la prise d'otages dans un hôtel au Mali, pas de revendication

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La sanglante prise d'otages par un commando armé dans un hôtel de Sévaré, dans le centre du Mali, à laquelle les forces maliennes ont mis fin samedi, a fait au moins 12 morts et n'avait toujours pas été revendiquée dimanche matin.

"Il y a eu 12 morts au total" durant les opérations dans cette ville située à plus de 620 km au nord-est de Bamako, a affirmé samedi à l'AFP un responsable militaire malien: "Cinq Fama (membres des Forces armées maliennes), cinq terroristes et deux Blancs" dont les identités et nationalités sont en cours de vérification.

Deux autres sources militaires distinctes ont confirmé à l'AFP ce bilan de douze tués. Pourtant, si l'on tient compte des dernières déclarations de l'ONU, ce bilan pourrait être plus lourd et atteindre 15 morts. Sollicité, un responsable de l'armée malienne a indiqué qu'aucun bilan définitif n'était arrêté et qu'il pourrait y avoir "probablement" plus de décès.

Dans un communiqué, la Mission de l'ONU au Mali (Minusma) a en effet annoncé que cinq employés travaillant pour des sous-traitants ont péri: "Un Malien, qui était le chauffeur de la compagnie sous-traitante de la Minusma, un Népalais, un Sud-Africain et deux Ukrainiens."

Elle fait également état de quatre rescapés: deux Sud-Africains, un Russe et un Ukrainien. "Ils sont tous en bonne santé. Leur présence à l'hôtel n'a pas été détectée par les assaillants et la Minusma était en contact permanent avec eux tout au long de l'attaque et jusqu'au dénouement de la situation", précise-t-elle.

Quatre soldats maliens tués vendredi lors de l'assaut d'un commando armé contre l'hôtel ont été inhumés samedi à Sévaré en présence de deux ministres maliens et d'une foule nombreuse.

Selon un habitant, joint au téléphone par l'AFP depuis Bamako, les corps des preneurs d'otages sont restés sur place. "Personne ne les a touchés", a-t-il ajouté.

Les Etats-Unis ont "fermement condamné l'attaque terroriste" menée au Mali et exprimé leur solidarité avec le gouvernement de Bamako.

Plus tôt, le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon avait réaffirmé dans un communiqué son soutien au processus de paix dans le pays.

Les assaillants, non identifiés et dont le nombre total demeure inconnu, avaient fait irruption vendredi matin au Byblos de Sévaré, où séjournent régulièrement des expatriés.

Les forces maliennes avaient alors bouclé la zone et tenté de déloger les assaillants. Elles y sont finalement parvenues dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi, a-t-on indiqué de source militaire, lors d'une opération menée par une unité d'élite de la gendarmerie "spécialisée dans les actions antiterroristes", avec "le concours et l'assistance" de forces spéciales étrangères.

L'intervention a permis de "libérer quatre otages", a-t-on précisé au ministère malien de la Défense, sans précision sur les nationalités.

Une bravade

Située à 12 km de Mopti, la capitale régionale, Sévaré est une ville stratégique, dotée du plus important aéroport de la région utilisé par les forces maliennes et internationales.

Pour le journaliste et analyste malien Alexis Kalambry, le choix de Sévaré par les assaillants n'est pas anodin.

"Mopti est certainement la ville qui a la plus grande concentration de porteurs d'uniformes au Mali" et attaquer Sévaré, dans sa proche périphérie, "est une bravade et une opération de communication. Il s'agit de montrer qu'on n'a pas peur des forces présentes", a-t-il affirmé à l'AFP.

L'attaque n'avait pas encore été revendiquée dimanche, mais M. Kalambry y voit "la marque d'Iyad Ag Ghali", chef d'Ansar Dine, un des groupes jihadistes liés à Al-Qaïda ayant contrôlé pendant près de dix mois entre 2012 et début 2013 le nord du pays, à la faveur d'une rébellion touareg.

Mopti se situe à la lisière de ces vastes régions d'où les jihadistes ont été en grande partie chassés et dispersés par une intervention militaire internationale déclenchée en janvier 2013 à l'initiative de la France, et toujours en cours.

Cependant, des zones entières échappent encore au contrôle des autorités maliennes comme à celui des forces étrangères. Deux attaques jihadistes, les 1er et 3 août, ont causé la mort de 13 militaires maliens dans le centre et le nord.

A Sévaré, après une journée entière calfeutrés dans leurs maisons en raison de consignes de sécurité de l'armée, "les gens sont sortis" samedi, "la vie a repris son cours normal", se réjouissait un élu local.

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