Friday 15 December 2017

Four UN peacekeepers, soldier killed in Mali attacks: UN

Four UN peacekeepers, soldier killed in Mali attacks: UN
(AFP 11/25/17)

Four UN peacekeepers and a Malian soldier were killed in attacks in Mali on Friday, the UN's MINUSMA mission to the country said.

Twenty people, including another Malian soldier and several UN peacekeepers were injured in the attacks.

The first attack happened in the morning in the northeastern Menaka region and claimed the lives of three peacekeepers and a Malian soldier, MINUSMA said, adding that 16 other UN troops and a civilian were injured.

It did not give the nationalities of the UN forces involved but contingents from Togo and Nigeria are deployed in the area.

Several of the attackers were killed and others wounded, the UN force added.

The Malian army confirmed that one of their soldiers was killed and another wounded, and that three troops were killed on the MINUSMA side and 15 wounded.

"This operation to protect civilians in the region also aimed to bring medical assistance to people in need," the head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said in the statement, condemning the attack.

He praised the "bravery" of the peacekeepers and soldiers who "neutralised several terrorists" and called for vigilance and unity in the face of "the cowardice of our adversaries," referring to jihadists groups in Mali's restive north.

The second attack targeted a MINUSMA convoy in the central Douentza area. One UN blue helmet was killed and three others seriously injured, according to the UN mission.

The MINUSCA troops gave chase against their attackers who used explosives and rocket-launchers.

On October 26, three Chadian peacekeepers in the UN force were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine and a fourth one later died of his injuries.

Mali's situation has been particularly volatile since 2012 when jihadist groups captured the entire north of the country, but were pushed back by a military intervention by France in 2013.

However, large swathes of the country remain outside the control of Malian and foreign forces.

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