At least 3 peacekeepers killed in Mali attack: UN

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Bamako  - At least three UN peacekeepers were killed on Sunday when their vehicle hit an explosive device in Mali's troubled north, the UN's mission to the conflict-torn country said.

MINUSMA said the attack, which also left another five soldiers seriously wounded, took place early on Sunday on a road between the city of Gao and a village called Anefis.

In a separate statement, the Bangladeshi armed forces said three of its soldiers had been killed and another four wounded when their vehicle hit the explosive device.

The blast came a day after Bangladeshi peacekeepers successfully fended off another armed attack, it said.

On September 5, two MINUSMA peacekeepers were killed and another two seriously wounded in a similar attack on their vehicle which was part of a logistical convoy in the northeast.

There are frequent clashes between rival armed groups in northern Mali which is also a haven for jihadist activity.

Since 2013, when MINUSMA was deployed in Mali, 80 peacekeepers have been killed, making it the most costly UN mission in terms of human life since Somalia (1993-1995).

In 2012, key cities fell under the control of Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups who exploited an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising, leading to a French-led military intervention and the UN deployment a year later.

Although the Islamists were largely ousted, much of the region is lawless and attacks have continued on UN and French forces, civilians and the Malian army.

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