Peacekeepers killed in Mali ambush: UN

2016-05-19 20:07


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bamako - The UN on Thursday said five Chadian peacekeepers had been killed and three others wounded during an ambush in northeastern Mali, raising concern over the rising body count of its mission in the country.

The attack, which took place on Wednesday, occurred as the soldiers were escorting a convoy in Aguelhok in the Kidal region. They hit a landmine and then came under sustained gunfire, according to a statement on the UN Mali mission's social media accounts.

"Five... peacekeepers were killed and three seriously wounded during an ambush," it said.

"Following the attack, three suspects were captured and will be transferred to the relevant authorities," said interim mission chief Koen Davidse, who described the ambush as "despicable".

Known by the acronym Minusma, the Mali mission is the most dangerous active deployment for UN peacekeepers and it has been hit by sharp internal tensions since its launch in July 2013.

Wednesday's attack was the worst since a February attack on the Minusma camp in Kidal by Malian Islamist group Ansar Dine in which seven Guineans were killed.

So far, 59 peacekeepers have been killed while in active service, while another four have died in friendly fire incidents, UN figures show.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented his condolences to the victims' families and demanded the attackers be swiftly brought to justice. He said attacking peacekeepers was a war crime.

Ban has previously alluded to "persistent operational difficulties" faced by the force, and reiterated a call for the Malian government to step up security in the north of the country.

Tense situation 

France's Barkhane force, which comprises 3 500 soldiers stationed across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, said it had deployed logistical support following the ambush.

Spokesperson Colonel Gilles Jaron said the French army had sent two helicopters and soldiers to secure the area. "This allowed the helicopters to pick up the wounded Chadians and evacuate them to Gao immediately," Jaron said, referring to the largest city in northern Mali.

"This situation just shows how tense the situation in this area remains," Jaron added.

With temperatures now hitting 50°C and sandstorms whipping up impossible conditions for road travel, the international missions face formidable challenges, and the French are also relying on drones to monitor the area.

Mali's vast, desolate north continues to be beset by violence, having fallen under the control of Tuareg-led rebels and jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda in 2012.

A landmark peace agreement was reached last year between the Mali government and the rebels, but jihadist violence remains a threat and the Malian government has been unable to maintain security with domestic forces alone.

Read more on:    un  |  minusma  |  mali

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.