Two UN peacekeepers killed by a mine in central Mali
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Two UN peacekeepers died and several were wounded on Friday in central Mali after their vehicle hit a mine, the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said in a statement.
“This morning at around 0600, a vehicle in a MINUSMA logistics convoy hit a mine near Douentza, Mopti region,” the statement said, without giving the nationality of those involved.
The deaths come after militant gunmen killed 10 Chadian peacekeepers and injured at least 25 others in an attack on a UN camp in Aguelhok, northern Mali on Sunday.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack — one of the deadliest strikes against the UN mission in the West African country.
Mali, the eighth largest country in Africa and one of the poorest in the world, has been struggling to return to stability after Islamist extremists linked to Al-Qaeda militants took control of the north of the country in early 2012, prompting France to intervene militarily.
The extremists were routed in a French-led military operation in 2013 but large stretches of the landlocked Sahel state remain out of government control.
In central Mali, the situation has been made even more unstable by a resurgence of violence between ethnic groups over access to land.
A peace deal between the government and armed groups was signed in 2015, but implementation has been slow and attacks have continued in the center and north of the country.
In his latest quarterly report on Mali, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted the continued growth of improvised explosive device attacks.
“The number of attacks of this type has increased steadily since January 2018, reaching 192, while there had been only 124 during the same period in 2017,” according to the report.
Some 15,000 peacekeepers and civilians are deployed in Mali as part of the UN mission.
Source: Arab News