Mali:Militant attack kills UN peacekeeper

A United Nations peacekeeping soldier has been killed and two others have been wounded in an attack by suspected militants in Mali.

The UN peacekeeping force in Mali, known as MINUSMA, said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack targeted the camp of troops near the Algerian border.

“Mortar fire targeted the MINUSMA camp in Aguelhok… it took the life of a peacekeeper and seriously wounded two others,” said the statement.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, although it had the hallmarks of attacks by militants loyal to al-Qaeda.

MINUSMA did not elaborate on the nationalities of the troops. Most of the soldiers in the mission, considered one of the deadliest in peacekeeping in the world, are from Chad.

The mission has deployed 13,000 soldiers to Mali, a country that has been grappling with rampant militancy in its north for the past years. Two militant groups razed parts of the desert north in 2012, prompting France to intervene militarily. A peace accord signed in 2015 has yet to be implemented as militants, both from al-Qaeda-linked groups and Tuareg-led forces, are still active across large parts of the region.

More than 70 people were killed in an attack last week in the city of Gao. Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, allied to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), claimed the carnage, which targeted militia groups committed to restoring peace in Mali. The attack was described as Mali’s worst in years.

Head of MINUSMA warned last week that attacks such as the one in Gao would seriously tarnish prospects for reaching a permanent peace in Mali.

By Africafrique and agencies

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