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Red Cross worker shot dead in northern Mali

BAMAKO (Reuters) - A local worker for the International Committee of the Red Cross was shot dead in the northern Mali town of Gao late on Wednesday night, a spokesman for the aid organization and local residents said.

"We are trying to confirm the details, but we can confirm the worker was killed," Saoure Barthelemi said on Thursday, without providing further details.

The Malian man was not working at the time of the shooting and was visiting family, Barthelemi said.

Kader Toure, a resident of Gao, said the worker had been shot by two men on a motorcycle late at night. He was taken to hospital where he died from his wounds, Toure said.

Northern Mali has been beset by attacks over the past year from resurgent Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Gao - seized by Islamist militants in 2012 before French forces drove them out a year later - is considered the most secure town in northern Mali, with multiple U.N., French and Malian army checkpoints along main roads.

Even in Gao, however, problems persist. A French aid worker was kidnapped there on Dec. 24, and in November the offices of the U.N. peacekeeping mission located next to the city's airport terminal were razed by a truck-bomb explosion.

(Reporting By Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako, writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Joe Bavier and Gareth Jones)

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