UN chief condemns attacks against peacekeepers in Mali


The head of the UN on Friday condemned two recent attacks on the international body's mission in Mali.

"An explosive device hit a Mission vehicle killing one Egyptian peacekeeper and seriously injuring another. In Timbuktu, an indirect fire attack against the Mission's integrated camp resulted in at least one Burkinabe peacekeeper wounded," said a statement, referring to the attacks on Thursday against the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The statement cited Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who underlined that such attacks targeting UN peacekeepers "may constitute war crimes under international law."

He called on Malian authorities "to take urgent steps to apprehend and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice."

The incidents came only three days after at least 12 civilians and 11 soldiers were killed in another two attacks in the West African country's central regions, injuring others, the statement added.

Unidentified gunmen raided the Sokoura military post on Tuesday in the Mopti region, according to the Malian Armed Forces.

The army said urgent measures were taken in the area near the town of Bankass, with troops on alert amid an ongoing operation to track the attackers.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, but similar attacks are usually claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Despite the presence of French and UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, armed groups are still very active in the country.

Meanwhile, a military junta had ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August and promised to win the war against terrorism in Mali.

Since 2012, militants have carried out violent attacks in northern and central Mali, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians.

Last year, at least 456 civilians were killed and hundreds more wounded in central Mali alone, according to Human Rights Watch.

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