Three UN Peacekeepers Killed in Attack in Mali

Peacekeepers with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on patrol in Bambari. Photo: MINUSCA (file photo)
Peacekeepers with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on patrol in Bambari. Photo: MINUSCA (file photo)

The peacekeepers’ convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED).

Three UN peacekeepers were killed and six wounded in attack in Mali. The peacekeepers’ convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED), and the troops then came under attack by unidentified gunmen in the Timbuktu region.

A robust response by the peacekeepers forced the attackers to flee, and the wounded personnel were evacuated by helicopter, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said in a news release on Wednesday (January 13).

While the attacks may constitute war crime, UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attack and called on Malian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the UN chief emphasized that attacks against UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.

He urged the Malian authorities to spare no efforts in identifying and promptly bringing to justice the perpetrators of this heinous attack. Mr. Guterres also reaffirmed the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and Government of Mali.

The attack against MINUSMA peacekeepers took place the same day as another attack on the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, in which a Rwandan peacekeeper was killed.

MINUSMA was established in 2013, after terrorist groups took control of major towns in the country’s north the year before. Since then, the security situation in Mali – a country roughly the combined size of France, Germany and the UK – has improved owing to efforts of the UN Mission, national security forces and international partners.

However, attacks against civilians and peacekeepers continue, and MINUSMA remains the most dangerous UN operation in the world.

As of December 2020, it suffered 231 fatalities among its civilian and uniformed personnel, of which 134 were the result of malicious acts. An additional 358 personnel sustained serious injuries.

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Rakesh Raman