One U.N. peacekeeper was killed and four more were severely wounded when their convoy hit an improvised explosive device in northern Mali on Saturday, the U.N. force in Mali said.
The bloodshed near the town of Tessalit followed the killing of five Malian gendarmes in an ambush on a mining convoy in southern Mali earlier this week that was claimed by a group linked to al-Qaida.
Armed attacks by Islamist militants and other groups are common across vast swaths of Mali and its neighbors Burkina Faso and Niger despite a heavy presence of international troops. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced.
“This incident is a sad reminder of the permanent danger that hangs over our peacekeepers,” El Ghassim Wane, the head of the U.N. mission known as MINUSMA, said in a statement. The peacekeeper who was killed was from Egypt.
The mission has deployed more than 13,000 troops to contain violence by armed groups in the north and center of the country. It has recorded about 255 fatalities since 2013, making it the deadliest of the U.N.’s more than a dozen peacekeeping missions.
In a statement issued Saturday night, the U.N. secretary-general strongly condemned the attack and “expresses his deep condolences to the family of the victim, as well as the government and people of Egypt. He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured,” the statement from the spokesperson for the secretary-general said.
Source: Voice of America