3 UN peacekeepers killed in Mali attack
BAMAKO, Mali (UPDATED) – At least 3 UN peacekeepers were killed Sunday, September 24, when their vehicle hit an explosive device in Mali's troubled north, the UN's mission to the conflict-torn country said.
MINUSMA said the attack, which left another 5 soldiers seriously wounded, took place early Sunday on a road between the city of Gao and a village called Anefis.
In a separate statement, the Bangladeshi armed forces said 3 of its soldiers had been killed and another 4 wounded when their vehicle hit the explosive device.
"A mine hit our peacekeepers," said MINUSMA force commander Jean-Paul Deconinck.
Deputy UN mission head Koen Davidse condemned the attack but underlined its determination to support the Bamako government in its efforts to make a fragile 2015 peace deal a reality.
The blast came a day after Bangladeshi peacekeepers successfully fended off another attack, their contingent said.
On September 5, two MINUSMA peacekeepers were killed and another two seriously wounded in a similar attack on their vehicle in the northeast.
There are frequent clashes between rival armed groups in northern Mali which is also a haven for jihadist activity.
Since 2013, when MINUSMA was deployed in Mali, 80 peacekeepers have been killed, making it the most costly UN mission in terms of human life since Somalia (1993-1995).
In 2012, key cities fell under the control of Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups who exploited an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising, leading to a French-led military intervention and the UN deployment a year later.
Although the Islamists were largely ousted, much of the region is lawless despite a ceasefire which former rebels and pro-government fighters said they signed last week after talks in Bamako, with attacks continuing on UN and French forces, civilians, and the Malian army. – Rappler.com