Deadly attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali

imgAt least five UN peacekeepers were killed in an ambush in central Mali by suspected militants on Sunday, the UN and police sources said.
The attack is the first time the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, Minusma, has recorded fatalities in the centre of a country long beset by violence in its vast and desolate north.
“According to preliminary information, five peacekeepers were killed. Another was seriously hurt and is being evacuated,” Minusma said in a statement.
The UN did not immediately confirm the nationality of the dead soldiers, but a Bamako police source indicated a group of Togolese peacekeepers “came across a mine and a terrorist attack about 50km out of Mopti”.
First reports had indicated four Togolese peacekeepers were killed in the mid-morning attack on a Minusma convoy about 30km west of the town of Sevare in Mopti region.
Minusma mission head Mahamat Saleh Annadif condemned the attack as an “odious” act of terror.
“I most strongly condemn this abject crime which adds to other terrorist acts targeting our peacekeepers and which constitute crimes against humanity under international law,” said Annadif.
Sunday’s attack came just two days after authorities reported five Malian soldiers killed and four wounded on Friday when their vehicles hit a mine in the north and then came under sustained fire.
Last week also saw five peacekeepers from Chad killed and three others wounded in an ambush in the northeast by Ansar Dine jihadist fighters.
The Mali mission is the most dangerous active deployment for UN peacekeepers and it has been hit by sharp internal tensions since its launch in July 2013.

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