Mali: Three UN peacekeepers killed in explosive attack
Three Senegalese peacekeepers serving in Mali were killed, and five others seriously injured, when their vehicle hit an explosive device, the UN Mission in the country, MINUSMA, reported on Tuesday.
The incident took place that morning near the village of Songobia, in central Mali, as their supply convoy was heading to its base in Sévaré.
Today @UNPeacekeeping mourns the loss of 3️⃣ Senegalese peacekeepers & the injury of 5️⃣ others as their convoy hit an explosive device in Bandiagara. @UN_MINUSMA chief @elghassimw condemned this cowardly attack & extends his deepest sympathies to their families. #NotATarget https://t.co/iuYx4VbX0YUNPeacekeeping
El-Ghassim Wane, the head of MINUSMA, condemned the attack and offered his deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the deceased peacekeepers.
"This is another tragic illustration of the complexity of our operational environment and the sacrifices made by the international community for peace in Mali," he said.
MINUSMA is one of the most dangerous peace operations for “blue helmets”. Since its establishment in 2013, 168 peacekeepers have lost their lives in hostile acts.
While renewing MINUSMA's commitment to work for peace in Mali, Mr. Wane recalled that attacks on peacekeepers can constitute war crimes under International Law.
He stressed "the need to do everything possible to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of hostile acts against MINUSMA".
UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attack, his Spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General conveys his heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Senegal and his profound sympathies to the families of the victims. He wishes a speedy and full recovery to the five injured peacekeepers,” it said.
The UN chief also recalled that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. He reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to support Mali in achieving sustainable peace and security.
Call for investigation
The UN Security Council condemned the attack in the strongest terms.
The Council issued a statement calling on the transitional authorities in Mali to swiftly investigate the attack with the support of MINUSMA, and promote accountability by bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Members reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.
They also underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism to justice.