2 UN Peacekeepers Killed In Mali, 4 Wounded

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UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) says its convoy hit an improvised explosive device in the north of Mopti on Monday, killing at least two ‘blue helmets,’ from Egypt, and wounding four others.

MINUSMA, in a statement, said the peacekeepers were part of a logistics convoy on its way to Timbuktu.

The UN Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, El-Ghassim Wane, strongly condemned the attack in the volatile central region of Mali, where government forces have been fighting an Islamist insurgency for the past decade.

MINUSMA said Wane “recalls that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

“He calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort to identify the perpetrators of these attacks so that they can be quickly brought to justice.”

He stressed that this latest attack, like the others that preceded it, “is a further reminder of the urgent need for even more sustained efforts to stabilise central Mali.”

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In a tweet, the MINUSMA head reinforced that blue helmet, in what continues to be the most dangerous UN peacekeeping operation in the world, faced a “daily threat as we strive to further peace in Mali.”

No fewer than 250 UN peacekeepers have died since 2013.

In a separate attack on Monday on government forces, at least two soldiers died in the northern region of Gao, just three days after another clash with insurgents left 27 dead, and 32 wounded, according to news reports.

UN Peacekeeping chief, Jean Pierre Lacroix, tweeted his “most sincere condolences to the Egyptian Government, and people, and the families of the two who lost their lives, in service of peace.

“These crimes must not go unpunished.”

The growing insecurity in the central region has fed the humanitarian crisis in the country, along with deep political uncertainty, following military coups in 2020 and 2021.

In February, the UN launched its 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, seeking 686 million dollars from donors to help more than five million of Mali’s most vulnerable citizens. (NAN)