At least 4 UN peacekeepers killed in central Mali

Mali UN peacekeeping forces

Four UN peacekeepers from Bangladesh were killed in central Mali on Wednesday after their vehicle hit an explosive device. Four others were seriously injured, the United Nations said.

Mali mission chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif said the peacekeepers hit the device along the Boni-Douentza road in the Mopti region.

He said six Malian soldiers were also killed in a similar manner Tuesday in the Segou region.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack against the Bangladeshis and reiterated that attacks targeting the UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, the UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Guterres demanded that the perpetrators be apprehended and prosecuted, he said.

The more than 11 000-strong mission in Mali has become the most dangerous in the world for the UN peacekeepers, which are routinely attacked by Islamic militants. The threat of groups related to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group continues to spread through Mali.

Annadif said the Mali mission is strengthening its security systems in central Mali.

Guterres said the “cowardly acts” that killed the Bangladeshi and Malian soldiers will not deter the UN mission’s “determination to support the Malian authorities in their efforts to protect civilians and accompany the Malian people in their quest for peace and stability,” Dujarric said.