Bombs in Mali against United Nations peacekeeping missions

Massive explosion of a military vehicle Massive explosion of a military vehicle Jeff Kingma on Unsplash

In northern Mali improvised explosive devices make the United Nations peacekeeping mission difficult

On Tuesday, July 5, two United Nations peacekeepers died due to an improvised explosive device, adding to the already high number of victims in northern Mali. In fact, 177 soldiers have been killed in almost ten years of service in the area. The UN peacekeepers, who served with the Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), hit a bomb with their armored vehicle about 60 kilometers northeast of Gao. Along with the Egyptian peacekeepers, nine other blue helmets were seriously injured.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres voiced the Security Council's condemnation of their killing, saying soldiers continue to pay the highest price in the service of peace. The episode could constitute a war crime, also considering the frequency of explosive devices found in Mali to sabotage United Nations operations and prevent the return of lasting peace. The northern region of Mali has for years been in the grip of terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State, who have also settled in the center of the country and in the neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Niger.

Therefore, the instability of Mali continues to worry, with its continuing humanitarian and political challenges, after the army took power in a coup d'état almost two years ago. MINUSMA's mission consists precisely in directing the country toward free and fair elections. The old reconciliation agreement of 2015 remains a fundamental document - Guterres insisted - inviting all the signatory parties to strengthen their efforts to implement it, also holding a meeting on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants into civilian life.

 

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by Sofiya Dmytrivna Rinci Zubok

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