Seven UN peacekeepers killed in central Mali explosion

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FILE PHOTO: UN peacekeepers standing guard near Timbuktu's airport in Mali, February 4, 2016. /VCG Photo)
FILE PHOTO: UN peacekeepers standing guard near Timbuktu’s airport in Mali, February 4, 2016. /VCG Photo)

Seven United Nations peacekeepers were killed on Wednesday when a logistical convoy struck an explosive device in central Mali, the UN mission MINUSMA said.

“The initial toll is seven dead and three seriously injured,” it said on Twitter, without detailing the nationality of the casualties.

The incident happened in the Bandiagara area in the Mopti region, as the convoy was heading to Sevare from Douentza, it said.

The casualties were members of the Togo contingent of MINUSMA.

UN chief Antonio Guterres strongly condemned “this heinous attack,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

He called on the Malian authorities to do their utmost to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

MINUSMA chief El-Ghassim Wane lashed what he called a “cowardly” attack, noting that it added to the already heavy toll paid by the UN’s mission in Mali.

The act “may constitute a war crime,” he said in a statement.

On Monday, a MINUSMA soldier died from injuries inflicted by a roadside bomb near the northern town of Tessalet on November 22.

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