Two suicide bombings, in nearly the same spot at a checkpoint outside of Gao, could indicate another wave of violence from Islamic militants in Mali. French and Malian troops had found industrial-strength explosives in the city earlier in the week.
A suicide bomber wearing military fatigues blew himself up near a checkpoint at the entrance to northern Mali's largest city, wounding one soldier in the second attack to hit the same location since Friday, residents and officials said Sunday.
A column of French tanks stood guard along the sandy road leading to the scene, as French and Malian soldiers patrolled the surrounding residential neighborhood of mud-walled homes.
The attack took place late Saturday at about 11 p.m., according to Malian Capt. Daouda Diarra. On Sunday morning, the bomber's torso lay in the scorching sun in the middle of the road, while his head sat in a pile of sand in a nearby wheelbarrow.
"When he leaped over the wall, we fired at him," Diarra said of the suicide bomber. "He then detonated his explosive belt."
Cpl. Mamadou Abdoulaye Maiga said other weapons were left behind at the scene, and French forces detonated three grenades Sunday morning.
It was the exact location where an earlier suicide bomber riding a motorcycle had blown himself up Friday morning, an attack that raised fears the militants ousted from Gao by French and Malian forces could now be launching a new wave of violence.