Bamako – A UN peacekeeper was killed and three others wounded on Wednesday in a “terrorist attack” on their convoy in Kidal, northern Mali, the MINUSMA mission said.
The casualties were members of the mission’s Jordanian contingent, a security official said separately on condition of anonymity.
The convoy was hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in an attack that lasted about an hour, MINUSMA spokesman Olivier Salgado tweeted.
“Unfortunately, one of the blue helmets succumbed to his wounds following the attack,” he posted in French.
No details were given about the suspected attackers.
In a statement, the UN’s special representative for Mali and head of MINUSMA, El-Ghassim Wane, said the peacekeepers repelled the assailants, who were heavily armed.
“I strongly condemn this attack, which is another desperate attempt by terrorist groups to hamper the quest for peace in Mali and the implementation of MINUSMA’s mandate,” he said.
The attack was the fifth incident to occur in Mali’s Kidal region in a week, the statement said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, according to a spokesperson, saying attacks on peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes under international law.”
“He calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack so that they can be brought to justice swiftly,” the spokesperson said.
MINUSMA – the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali – was deployed in 2013 to help shore up the fragile Sahel state in the face of jihadist attacks.
With 13,000 members, the mission is one of the UN’s biggest peacekeeping operations, and also one of its most dangerous. It says 172 troops have died from hostile acts.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Mali is struggling with a decade-long jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.
The ruling junta has turned away from France and towards Russia in its efforts to stem violence that began in the north of the country and spread to the centre, and then to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
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