Two Egyptian UN peacekeepers were killed and five others seriously injured when their vehicle hit an anti-personnel mine laid by suspected jihadists in northern Mali on Tuesday
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Two Egyptian United Nations peacekeepers were killed and five others seriously injured when their vehicle hit an antipersonnel mine laid by suspected jihadists in northern Mali on Tuesday, the UN said.
The deadly attack comes just days after the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.
“This morning, an armored vehicle from a MINUSMA logistics convoy hit a mine on the Tessalit-Gao road,” the mission said in a statement.
“According to an initial report, two peacekeepers died of their wounds and five others were seriously injured following the attack,” the statement added.
“The victims are all Egyptian nationals,” a UN official told The Associated Press, insisting on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press until the UN has it. not inform the families.
Ten blue helmets have been killed in Mali since the beginning of the year.
First deployed in 2013, the mandate of the UN mission in Mali to help fight Islamic extremist rebels was renewed last week, despite the Malian government saying it would not support the mission objective to promote and protect human rights.
Russia and China abstained from the French-drafted UN resolution, which extends the mission’s mandate until June 30, 2023, with its current cap of 13,289 military and 1,920 international police.
More than 270 peacekeepers have died in Mali, making it the UN’s deadliest peacekeeping mission, according to UN officials.
Mali is ruled by a military junta which took power in August 2020. Colonel Assim Goita was named president.
Mali’s junta has grown closer to Russia as Moscow seeks to forge alliances and gain influence in Africa. The Russian Wagner Group has deployed a team of fighters to Mali.
Last week, a European military task force that has helped the Malian government fight Islamic extremists officially withdrew from the West African country amid tensions with its ruling military junta.
The French army, which led Task Force Takuba, announced that it had ended its work in Mali. The move was linked to France’s decision earlier this year to withdraw its troops from Mali after nine years of helping Malian forces fight violent extremists who had threatened to seize power.
The European Takuba Force consisted of several hundred special forces soldiers from 10 countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. It aimed to train and protect the Malian fighting forces.