Mali, three UN peacekeepers seriously wounded

A UNHCR convoy A UNHCR convoy Photo by Raphael on iStock

25 April 2021

Attack on Mali base housing UN peacekeepers, French troops and Malian soldiers leaves three peacekeepers gravely wounded.

A spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, told AFP that Sunday’s attack on a base in Tessalit housing UN peacekeepers, French troops and Malian soldiers has left three UN peacekeepers gravely wounded. A Tessalit tribal leader told AFP that the camp had come under rocket fire but that the situation is currently calm and under control.

MINUSMA has suffered one of the highest death tolls of any UN peacekeeping mission, with a total of approximately 230 deaths since it was established. More than 130 of these deaths have resulted from hostile acts, including the deaths of four UN peacekeepers in April following an attack to their base in Aguelhok and nine deaths following an attack near the central town of Bandiagara in February. In March of this year, at least 33 soldiers were killed as a direct result of an attack on a military post in Tessalit by about 100 heavily armed fighters on pick-up trucks and motorbikes. This is typical of rebel  attacks in central Mali, which often involve roadside bombs or hit-and-run raids on such engines .

Rebel fighters first emerged in Mali in 2012 during a rebellion by ethnic Tuareg separatists in the north of the country. Following an intervention by France intended to quash the rebellion, the fighters scattered and regrouped in central Mali in 2015 and then in  Niger and Burkina Faso, spreading violence, exploiting the poverty of disadvantaged communities and inflaming tensions between ethnic groups in these neighbouring countries. Between 2016 and 2020, attacks increased by five times, with 4,000 people killed in the three countries last year, up from about 770 in 2016, according to the UN.


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Author: Irina Kovacevic; Editor: Catherine Meunier

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