Mali, twenty UN peacekeepers injured in an attack

Soldiers holding rifles. Soldiers holding rifles. Photo by unknown on Pexels

10 February 2021 

Twenty peacekeepers of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were injured in an attack.

The base of the United Nations (UN) mission in Mali, located in Kéréna, in the vicinity of Douentza, was targeted in an attack on Wednesday around 07:00 GMT. When the base came under attack, the blue helmets were able to repel the attackers, though twenty peacekeepers remained injured. The UN peacekeeping mission has so far given no notice of who was responsible. Nevertheless, the Islamic State and Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda frequently attack Malian soldiers and UN peacekeepers in the area, which is used as a base for attacks across the Sahel region. 

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, said that the UN security operations’ main objective is “to help reduce violence against populations, restore calm in areas where community tensions are reported, and reduce the threat of improvised explosive devices”. Indeed, the Malian Government is seeking to tackle the country’s general instability provoked by a series of setbacks among which a failed coup d’état, fights between Tuareg rebels and Government forces and the presence of radical extremists in the north of its territory. In September, after a military coup, a transitional government was established for a period of 18 months in order to have elections and to return to civilian rule.

The UN Stabilization mission which has over 13,000 troops is trying to secure the central region from extremist and armed groups. However, those operations remain highly risky and as such the MINUSMA is considered one of the most dangerous UN missions in the world, indeed already five blue helmets were wounded and four killed during attacks in mid-January while about 230 fatalities were recorded since 2013.

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Author: Eleonora Gonnelli; Editor: Benedetta Spizzichino

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