2 killed when explosive detonates, apparently by accident, in northern Mali, official says

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BAMAKO, Mali — Two people were killed when an explosive went off, apparently by accident, in northern Mali, an official said Tuesday.

The explosive detonated while it was being manipulated, bringing down a house in the northern city of Gao on Monday, said Choguel Maiga, a government spokesman. Malian and U.N. officials are now searching the house for more information.

Mali's north fell to al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention in early 2013 scattered the extremists, but remnants of the group that controlled Gao before the intervention have since claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in the region around the city.

The north generally remains insecure, and U.N. peacekeepers are trying to stabilize it.

Last week, al-Qaida fighters shot a man in the head front of villagers outside the northern city of Timbuktu, the man's uncle said Tuesday. The fighters then decapitated their victim, said Mohamed Lamine Ag Mohamed Ahmed.

During the Islamists' rule in the north, they often used public execution-style killings to punish their opponents or people deemed to have broken their extremist version of Islamic law.

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