A Nigerian peacekeeper was killed on Saturday (May 18) in an attack on the United Nations’ stabilisation mission in Mali.
According to a statement from the UN, the victim “succumbed to his wounds following the armed attack by unidentified assailants” in Timbuktu.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he was “deeply saddened” by the assault, which he said could amount to a war crime.
In a separate incident Saturday, three Chadian peacekeepers were wounded when their mine-protected vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Tessalit, in Mali’s Kidal region.
The UN’s MINUSMA mission was established in Mali after radical Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012. They were pushed back by French troops in 2013.
A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability. But the accord has failed to stop the violence.
Since their deployment in 2013, more than 190 peacekeepers have died in Mali, including nearly 120 killed by hostile action – making MINUSMA the UN’s deadliest peacekeeping operation, accounting for more than half of blue helmets killed globally in the past five years.