UN condemns attack in northern Mali which killed two peacekeepers

Senegalese soldiers of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali MINUSMA,patrol on foot.PHOTO/AFP
FILE PHOTO: UN Peacekeepers from Senegal on an early morning patrol in Gao, Mali. (Jane Hahn for the Washington Post/Getty Images)

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned an attack in the northwestern region of Mali which killed two UN peacekeepers on Saturday.

Unknown armed people attacked a logistical convoy, which was travelling between Tessalit and Gao, near the village of Tarkint, killing the two peacekeepers who were identified to be Egyptians.

MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, said that its troops fought back and repelled the enemy.

In a statement released on Sunday, Guterres sent his condolences to the bereaved families as well as to the Government and people of Egypt.

He added that such “cowardly acts” would not discourage the UN from pursuing its objective of restoring peace and stability in Mali.

“The Secretary-General recalls that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. He calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort identifying and bringing to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” the statement said in part.

This is the latest attack by suspected jihadists on the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has been identified as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for UN peacekeepers.

Last week, improvised explosive device attacks against a MINUSMA convoy near Aguelhok, Kidal region, killed three peacekeepers from Chad and seriously injured four others.

In January, 18 peacekeepers from Chad were wounded in an attack on a military base for UN, French and Malian troops in northern Mali

Mali, particularly its central region, has been plagued by deadly ethnic and jihadist violence since 2012 when a revolt broke out leaving thousands of people dead and thousands of others displaced.

Despite the deployment of thousands of troops from the UN and France, which runs a separate anti-insurgent mission across the Sahel region, Mali’s military has failed to stem the violence which has spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.