Malian Landmines Kill Three Civilians, Peacekeepers Wounded

A car destroyed in a landmine explosion. A car destroyed in a landmine explosion. Reuters

27 October, 2015
Three civilians have been killed and two UN peacekeepers wounded after two deadly landmine explosions.

On October 26, three Malian citizens died after their vehicle hit a landmine in northern Mali. Shortly after the explosion, United Nations peacekeepers rushed to the scene to help the injured. A second landmine exploded, injuring two peacekeepers. Both mines were in the vicinity of a United Nations base at Tessalit in the region of Kidal.

Kidal is the stronghold of the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). Since its founding in October of 2011, the armed militia captured much of northern Mali with the support of militants linked to al Qaeda. The area was recaptured in 2013 and the United Nations established a peacekeeping mission in Tessalit. Since then, violence has continued between militia groups.

In June a peace agreement was signed between separatists and the government, in hopes of ending the violence. The Malian government has committed $175 million a year between 2016 and 2018 in supporting the agreement. Since its signing, violence has continued in northern Mali.  

Despite the explosions, the United Nations announced that U.N. peacekeepers are lifting a security zone imposed around Kidal. The security zone was originally placed for fear of violence between pro-government forces and separatists. Both sides signed a peace deal earlier this month, reducing U.N. fears of further attacks. Radhia Achouri, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said, “We are no longer fearful for the security of the civilian population.”

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