Al-Qaeda Claims Deadly UN Peacekeepers Attack in Mali

UN Peacekeepers carry a cushion and flowers during the tribute to their fallen fellow soldiers. UN Peacekeepers carry a cushion and flowers during the tribute to their fallen fellow soldiers. HABIBOU KOUYATE | AFP

4 February 2019

Ten “blue helmets” from the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were killed in an attack against their camp.

The United Nations Peacekeepers were killed in a “jihadist” attack on a UN camp in Mali’s northern Kidal region last Sunday, another 25 were injured. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack, stating it was “in reaction” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to the Republic of the Chad. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres conveyed his “heartfelt condolences to the Government of Chad, and the families and loved ones of the deceased”, wishing a speedy recovery to those injured while paying tribute to the dedication and courage of the men and women serving in MINUSMA, calling it a “great personal risk and sacrifice”.

The proliferation of armed groups fighting government forces and allies in the center and northern areas of Mali as a result of a failed coup d'état six years ago, have made MINUSMA the most dangerous mission to serve in as a UN peacekeeper.  UN spokesperson Ivan Dujarric, announced “MINUSMA forces responded robustly and a number of assailants were killed.” in response to the attack. Reminding the public that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, reaffirming that “such acts will not diminish the resolve of the United Nations to continue supporting the people and Government of Mali in their efforts to build peace and stability in the country.”

Head of the Mission Mahamat Saleh Annadif strongly condemned the attack, stating that “this complex and cowardly attack shows how determined terrorists are to sow chaos.” He demanded, “a robust, immediate and coordinated response from all the forces to destroy the threat of terrorism in the Sahel.”



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