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UN peacekeeper killed in northeast Mali: MINUSMA

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A UN peacekeeper was killed after his vehicle hit a mine or explosive device on Thursday afternoon in Mali’s northeastern region of Kidal, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) confirmed Thursday in a press release.

“Around 1:30 p.m. today, a MINUSMA Force vehicle struck a mine or explosive device, at about 50 km from the town of Kidal,” the MINUSMA said, adding that the explosion killed one peacekeeper and severely injured another.

Without giving further details on the nationality of the peacekeepers concerned, the MINUSMA “strongly condemns these attacks which attack indiscriminately United Nations personnel, Malian and international forces, and above all, innocent civilians.”

“The MINUSMA will not be intimidated by these attacks, and remains committed to supporting the people and the government of Mali in their efforts to bring back lasting peace to the country,” Mahamat Saleh Annadif, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Mali and head of the MINUSMA, said in the press release.

He also stressed that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

Before this Thursday’s tragedy, five UN peacekeepers have lost their lives during their peacekeeping mission in the landlocked West African country.

The MINUSMA was deployed in 2013 to support political processes in Mali. During a failed coup in 2012, extremist militias took control of Mali’s north. A UN-backed peace deal in 2015 between the government and various armed groups failed to stabilize the situation in the country’s central and northern regions, with attacks multiplying in the past years.

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