BAMAKO, Mali – At least nine United Nations peacekeepers from Niger were killed on Friday in northern Mali, in the deadliest ever attack on the mission, the UN said.
“This morning, a convoy of MINUSMA peacekeepers from the Nigerien contingent was the target of a direct attack while travelling to Indelimane, in the Menaka-Asongo corridor. A provisional toll indicated nine deaths,” a statement from the UN mission said.
MINUSMA did not immediately hold any armed group responsible, but a Nigerien officer from the mission told Agence France-Presse the attack had been carried out by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militia behind numerous attacks in northern Mali in recent years.
“This is to date the deadliest attack against the UN mission in Mali,” the statement said, adding that aircraft had been deployed to secure the area.
Arnauld Akodjenou, the deputy head of the mission, said he was “horrified” by the “cowardly” attack.
“Once again, lives have now been lost in the name of peace in Mali. These crimes must not go unpunished,” he said in the statement.
“This violence must stop immediately and MINUSMA again challenges all those involved in finding solutions for sustainable peace to take responsibility for a rapid resolution of the crisis that has lasted too long.” – Rappler.com