The United Nations has strongly condemned a mortar attack on a UN camp in restive northern Mali earlier today, which left two peacekeepers and a civilian contractor dead, and 20 others injured, with the Security Council calling on the Malian Government to swiftly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The Secretary-General is outraged by the deadly attack against a camp of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Kidal that claimed the lives of two United Nations peacekeepers and one civilian contractor,” said a statement issued in the wake of the incident by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.
According to the Security Council, which condemned the attack in a separate statement, the two UN “blue helmets” were from Guinea and the contractor was from Burkina Faso.
The statement from Mr. Ban's spokesperson added that 20 peacekeepers and civilian personnel were injured, including four seriously. MINUSMA, it continued, has taken immediate steps to assist the wounded and continues to strengthen the safety and security of its personnel.
He conveyed his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to the Governments of Burkina Faso and Guinea and expressed his profound sympathy and support to those wounded and wishes them a speedy recovery.
“The Secretary-General reiterates that these asymmetric attacks against the Mission will not impede the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian Government, the signatory parties to the peace agreement, and the people of Mali, in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability,” said the statement.
Stressing the urgent need to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice, the UN chief also reiterated that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.
In a statement to the press, the members of the Security Council also called on the Government to swiftly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators, and they also underscored such targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the UN Charter, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
Reiterating their full support for MINUSMA and the French forces that support it, the Council members also reiterated their strong support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali, Mongi Hamdi, and for MINUSMA to assist the Malian authorities and people in their efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to their country, including through MINUSMA's support to the implementation of the peace and reconciliation agreement.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hamdi, who is also the Head of MINUSMA, strongly condemned the attack and said the Mission was conducting medical evacuations while strengthening its security apparatus.
"I wish to reaffirm that these attacks will not deter the United Nations to support the Malian people and the peace process, including through assistance to the implementation of the Peace Agreement and reconciliation in Mali,” he said.
MINUSMA, Mr. Hamdi stated, continues to strengthen measures against such threats in Mali for the Malians and protection of UN personnel. “I express my solidarity with and salute the brave men and women serving in MINUSMA [across] the country for their efforts to bring lasting peace to Malians in these difficult conditions,” he said.