Bomb kills two UN peacekeepers in Mali

By: AFP
Published: 08:42 PM, 7 Mar, 2022
Bomb kills two UN peacekeepers in Mali
Caption: Bomb kills two UN peacekeepers in Mali
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A roadside bomb killed two UN peacekeeping troops in central Mali on Monday, the UN's mission to the troubled Sahel country said.

"This morning, a supply convoy... struck an improvised explosive device north of Mopti," MINUSMA spokesman Olivier Salgado said on Twitter, adding that four other peacekeepers were wounded.

MINUSMA did not immediately give the nationalities of the casualties, but a security source said they were members of the force's Egyptian contingent.

The mission's chief, El-Ghassim Wane, vigorously condemned the attack and called on the Malian authorities "to spare no effort" in identifying those behind it.

The incident comes as the United Nations is assessing the impact on MINUSMA from France's decision to withdraw from Mali following a rift with its ruling junta.

The 13,000-member mission is one of the UN's biggest and most dangerous peacekeeping operations.

Its deployment began in 2013 to help shore up the fragile Sahel state in the face of jihadist attacks.

The insurgency, born in the north of the country, spread two years later to the volatile centre and then to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Diplomats in New York last month said the future of MINUSMA, whose annual mandate comes up for renewal in June, may be compromised by recent developments in Mali.

The junta in Mali has embraced a partnership with Russia and fallen out with France, the country's traditional ally.

As a result, France is pulling its forces out of the country as part of a major reconfiguration of its anti-jihadist operations in the Sahel.

French forces have helped underpin MINUSMA'S operations with air and medical support.

Sweden last week announced that it would withdraw its 220 soldiers from Mali a year earlier than usual.

Earlier Monday, Denmark said that it would "delay" sending a C130 Hercules transport aircraft that had been scheduled to join MINUSMA on a deployment running from May to November.

Instead, the plane will be retained in Denmark "so that it can be ready to respond to any request from NATO" in the light of the Ukraine crisis, Defence Minister Morten Bodskov told a press conference.

Denmark has contributed to MINUSMA -- the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali -- since 2014, committing a transporter to its operations three times, most recently in 2019.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.