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Two UN peacekeepers killed in Mali, four wounded

UN peacekeepers patrol the Mopti region in central Mali (file photo).
MINUSMA/Gema Cortes
UN peacekeepers patrol the Mopti region in central Mali (file photo).

Two UN peacekeepers killed in Mali, four wounded

Peace and Security

A convoy from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) hit an improvised explosive device north of Mopti on Monday, killing at least two ‘blue helmets’, from Egypt, and wounding four others.

In a statement, MINUSMA said the peacekeepers were part of a logistics convoy on its way to Timbuktu.

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The UN Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, El-Ghassim WANE, strongly condemned the attack in the volatile central region of Mali, where Government forces have been fighting an Islamist insurgency for the past decade.

Possible war crime

MINUSMA said that Mr. WANE “recalls that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. He calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort to identify the perpetrators of these attacks so that they can be quickly brought to justice.”

He stressed that this latest attack, like the others that preceded it, “is a further reminder of the urgent need for even more sustained efforts to stabilize central Mali.”

In a tweet, the MINUSMA head reinforced that blue helmets, in what continues to be the most dangerous UN peacekeeping operation in the world, faced a “daily threat as we “strive to further peace in Mali”. More than 250 have died since 2013.

In a separate attack on Monday on Government forces, at least two soldiers died in the northern region of Gao, just three days after another clash with insurgents left 27 dead, and 32 wounded, according to news reports.

UN Peacekeeping chief, Jean Pierre Lacroix, tweeted his "most sincere condolences to the Egyptian Government, and people, and the families" of the two who lost their lives, in service of peace. "These crimes must not go unpunished", he said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, The UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attack, and extended his deep condolences to the bereaved, as well as to the Government and people of Egypt, and called on the Malian authorities to "spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators of these attacks to justice."  

"The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations continued support to, and solidarity with, the people and Government of Mali", the statement said, "including through enhancing the capacity of MINUSMA to protect civilians in the centre of Mali and supporting a Government-led strategy to stabilize that region."  

Crises mount

The growing insecurity in the central region has fed the humanitarian crisis in the country, along with deep political uncertainty, following military coups in 2020 and 2021.

Last month, the UN launched its 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, seeking $686 million from donors to help more than five million of Mali’s most vulnerable citizens.