UN peacekeepers injured in an explosion
A powerful explosion hit at least seven United Nations peacekeepers at Mali’s highly volatile northern town of Tabankort, where rival militant groups are locked in lethal violence.
“Seven UN peacekeepers were wounded in an explosion, the cause of which is not yet known. I can’t say yet whether it was an attack or an accident,” a source from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), requesting anonymity, said on Monday.
The source added, “Four of the peacekeepers were seriously injured. They were all in Tabankort. They were taken to [the town of] Gao by the French military’s Operation Barkhane.”
On Saturday, gunmen launched an attack against a Malian army post in Mopti region, situated about 460 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the capital, Bamako. Two soldiers lost their lives while three others sustained injuries in the assault.
Mali’s army spokesman Colonel Souleymane Maiga said, “The attackers ... fled leaving five bodies behind while carrying others. The army suffered two dead and three wounded.”
On January 9, a similar explosion left seven other peacekeepers injured. The blast struck their vehicle in the northern desert town of Kidal.
The peacekeepers, who were all Senegalese nationals, were on patrol near an airport in the town when the blast took place.
Six UN peacekeepers were wounded on January 4, when their vehicle rolled over an explosive device in Gao. All of the injured soldiers came from neighboring Niger.
MINUSMA was established after the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2100 on April 25, 2013. It is tasked with security-related operations in Mali.
Chaos broke out in the country after then President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup d’état in response to what was said to be the government’s inability to contain the rebellion in the north.
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