Ban 'outraged' by attack on peacekeepers in Mali

2014-10-04 12:13
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday he was "shocked and outraged" by a deadly ambush on UN peacekeepers in Mali and emphasized such attacks were a "serious violation of international law."

The attack on a UN convoy in northeastern Mali killed nine peacekeepers from Niger, in the worst-ever strike against the mission.

Their deaths bring the death toll for UN peacekeepers in Mali to 30, with another 90 wounded, since the start of the mission on 1 July 2013.

Ban "reminds the armed groups operating in northern Mali of their commitment to cooperate with the United Nations to prevent attacks against peacekeepers in line with their declaration of 16 September in Algiers".

"All parties must demonstrate good faith and commitment to a political solution and that the perpetrators of these appalling actions are brought to justice," he said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The secretary general also "assures the people of Mali of the United Nations' steadfast support to their search for peace".

On the urging of France, the Security Council "condemned in the strongest terms" the incident and said "attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law".

The ambushed UN convoy included a tanker truck, which could explain the high number of casualties, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Bamako and six rebel groups, mostly Tuareg but also including Arab organizations, are seeking to resolve a decades-old conflict that created a power vacuum in the northern desert that was exploited by al-Qaeda.

A ceasefire has been in force since May when the rebels seized a large swathe of northern Mali in a major offensive.

Then in July, Bamako and the rebels met for a first round of talks in Algiers and signed a preliminary accord which set a roadmap for further negotiations.

A second round of talks began in September, but so far no major advances have been announced.

Read more on:    un  |  ban ki-moon  |  mali  |  west africa

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