BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Three residents of the central Malian town of Niono confirmed that a volley of shots rang out on Wednesday afternoon. The shots came from the direction of a neighborhood called Sahel, which has a command post used by security forces.
Mamadou Haidara, who lives in town, says that the shooting although brief, has put the town on high alert. Citizens believe the military fired warning shots to keep the Islamist rebels away from the town.
Niono is just 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Diabaly, where French troops are battling Islamist insurgents in the first land assault by the French army.