BAMAKO, Feb. 21 (AP) — Three U.N. peacekeepers were killed and several others were seriously injured in a roadside bomb attack in central Mali on Tuesday, according to the United Nations.
The UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali said in a statement that the bomb hit a supply convoy near the village of Songobia.
“I strongly condemn this attack and extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and comrades of the deceased Blue Helmets,” said MINUSMA head El-Ghassim Wane.
He said the incident illustrated the complex environment in which peacekeepers work.
Jihadist violence linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group has ravaged Mali for a decade and killed thousands. The war-torn West African country is one of the most dangerous places in the world for peacekeeping missions.
For the ninth year in a row, Mali has been the country with the highest number of peacekeepers killed during deployment, the United Nations reported in January.Including Tuesday’s peacekeepers, 168 people have been killed in the country since 2013, according to the United Nations
Colonel Asimi Goita’s junta has strained relations with the international community and limited the mission’s ability to operate since the Mali military seized power in two coups that began in 2020.
Countries including Benin, Germany, Sweden, Ivory Coast and the United Kingdom have announced withdrawals, according to the International Crisis Group.
An internal review of the mission in January called it one of the most difficult operating environments for peacekeeping operations and said restrictions imposed by the junta put personnel at risk. The loss of participating countries will put additional pressure on the mission as it will lose more than 2,250 troops, the report said. (Associated Press)
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