Mali blast: 1 UN peacekeeper killed, 4 injured

Bamako [Mali]: One UN peacekeeper was killed and four others suffered injuries when an improvised road mine exploded hitting the peacekeeping convoy in the Mopti region of Mali on Saturday morning.

In a statement, the United Nations said that the peacekeeper who lost his life, was an Egyptian. The UN convoy was en route to Douentza from Boni in southern-central Mali.

“The UN Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the victim and to the Government of Egypt. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” it said.

UN chief Antonio Guterres, in the statement, that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may “constitute war crimes under international law” and urged the Malian authorities to take swift action to identify the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice.

The statement noted that the attack against the UN convoy carrying members of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) happened close to the border with Burkina Faso.

MINUSMA’s mandate from the UN Security Council began after extremist militias seized control of northern Mali in 2012, which following a failed coup, were repulsed by French military action a year later, it said.

An UN-backed peace agreement in 2015 was signed between the Government of Mali and various armed groups, which however failed to stabilise the febrile central and northern regions of the northwest African country.

According to state media, Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga put down his resignation along with his Cabinet members last week after facing widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, over the failure to make inroads against the continuing violence to the north.

Since the deployment of MINUSMA in 2013, more than 190 peacekeepers have died in Mali, including close to 120 killed during hostilities, the statement said.

Guterres said that the latest casualties “will not diminish the resolve of the United Nations to continue supporting the people and the Government of Mali in their quest for peace and stability”.