Monday 18 December 2017

Rocket attack on UN camp in Mali kills one, wounds 9

Rocket attack on UN camp in Mali kills one, wounds 9
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
Rocket attack on UN camp in Mali kills one, wounds 9

Shelling and rocket fire on a UN camp in Mali's troubled Timbuktu killed one yet to be identified person and wounded nine peacekeepers, the United Nations mission said Wednesday.

It is the latest attack to hit the mission, known as MINSUMA, stationed in the country since 2013 and considered its most dangerous active peacekeeping deployment.

"A mortar and rocket attack was launched against the MINUSMA camp in Timbuktu," a UN statement said.

"The provisional toll is nine wounded among the peacekeepers, four seriously who are being evacuated to Bamako. The attack also killed one person, they are still being identified," it added.

The UN mission said it had reinforced the camp's defences and deployed air cover to identify where the enemy fire had originated, describing it as a "terrorist" attack.

Sweden's armed forces confirmed one of its soldiers was wounded, though not severely. "A Swedish soldier was lightly injured and is now being cared for by the Swedish medical unit," it said in a statement.

Liberia's armed forces, who also have peacekeepers among the mission, also confirmed "several injuries and other casualties", according to Prince Johnson, deputy chief of staff, but would not specify more.

"We are investigating the matter," he added.

Northern Mali fell to jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in March 2012, and although these forces were driven out of key towns by a French-led military intervention the following year, the Islamists have now spread further south.

The 13,000-strong UN mission was deployed to provide security and assist Malian troops struggling to keep the country safe, but it has been targeted constantly by jihadists, with dozens of peacekeepers killed.

Three Malian jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links recently joined forces to create the "Group to Support Islam and Muslims" (GSIM), led by Iyad Ag Ghaly of Ansar Dine, and have killed Malian soldiers further east near the Burkina Faso border.

Nine Malian soldiers were killed and five wounded Tuesday, an attack that has become near routine in the country's north and centre.

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