Two UN peacekeepers were killed in a sixth incident in Mali in two weeks


United Nations — Two UNs on Friday when an armored personnel carrier collides with an improvised explosive device in central Mali in a sixth incident targeting a UN mission in West African countries facing a decade of Islamic rebellion. Peacekeepers have been killed.

United Nations spokesman Stephen Dujaric said the devices that killed and injured Egyptian peacekeepers were installed on roads outside the town of Douentza in the Mopti region.

He said their APC was escorting a civilian convoy and was on their way from Douentza to Timbuktu when it crashed into the device.

“The intention is to disrupt the lives of the people of Mali, disrupt transportation, and disrupt security,” Dujaric said. “These roads are used not only by civilians, civilian trucks and civilian buses, but also by security forces, whether they are Marian troops or UN peacekeepers … (they) improvised explosive devices. Was a victim of. “

According to a UN spokesman, the UN peacekeeping mission convoy was the sixth incident since May 22, and the second fatal attack on the convoy this week.

On Wednesday, a UN peacekeeper convoy was attacked by terrorist suspects in northern Kidal, killing Jordanian peacekeepers and injuring three other Jordanians. Dujaric said the supply fleet had been continuously attacked for about an hour by attackers using firearms and rocket launchers.

Mali has been in turmoil since the 2012 riots overthrew the president by rebels. The resulting vacuum of power eventually triggered an Islamic rebellion and a French-led war, expelling the Zihadists from power in 2013. Since 2015, the more populous Central Mali has aroused hostility and violence among ethnic groups in the region.

Mali’s current ruling party seized power in August 2020, and in April administration leaders said it would take at least two years for civilians to transition to democratic rule.

The UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have strongly condemned Friday’s attacks in separate statements and urged Mali’s interim government to quickly identify and bring the perpetrators to justice. They both emphasized that attacks on peacekeepers could constitute war crimes.

“We pay tribute to the peacekeeper’s determination and courage to continue to carry out missions in extremely difficult situations to support the people of Mali,” said UN Secretary-General Stephen Dujaric, UN spokesman. ..

The Security Council emphasized that involvement in planning, commanding, sponsoring, or implementing attacks on peacekeepers also forms the basis of UN sanctions.

Members of the council “expressed concern about the cross-border aspects of the security situation in Mali and the threat of terrorism in the Sahel region” and “without further delay” urged the full implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

According to the United Nations mission, more than 255 peacekeepers and personnel have died since 2013, making Mali the 12 most deadly UN peacekeeping missions in the world.

“Thanks aren’t powerful enough to express how we feel about the member states that continue to provide many peacekeepers around the world,” says Dujaric. I did. “Egyptian, Jordanian, Chad and others have dedicated their lives to the people of Mali for peace. We are forever grateful for their continued support.”

El Gasim Wayne, head of the UN mission in Mali, condemned the attack on the UN convoy on Friday and said such an attack could constitute a war crime.

He also accused motorcycle-riding gunners of attacking vehicles with the Red Cross emblem on Wednesday near K’s in western Mali, killing Dutch Red Cross workers and car drivers.

Edith M. Redeller

Associated Press

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