UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday strongly condemned recent attacks on civilians in northern Mali near the border with Niger in which more than 50 civilians were killed and several wounded.
“The UN Multidimensional Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) stands ready to assist the Malian authorities in bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice,” Guterres said in a statement.
He extended his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wished for a speedy recovery to the injured.
“These deliberate attacks against civilian populations constitute serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law,” the statement said.
It added that MINUSMA sent peacekeepers to the affected area to protect civilians and has increased its day and night patrolling to deter any further attacks and facilitate the delivery of basic services in coordination with the Malian Defense and Security Forces.
Mali has been battling an insurgency linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group since 2012, when the unrest started in the north of the West African country. The violence, which has killed thousands of civilians and troops, has since spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.