The UN Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, reported on Saturday that two peacekeepers had been killed and several others wounded, following a coordinated attack at dawn, on a base in the north of the country.
A proliferation of armed groups fighting government forces and their allies in the center and northern areas of Mali following a failed coup six years ago, have made MINUSMA the most dangerous mission to serve in as a UN blue helmet.
A statement from the Mission said that peacekeepers based in Ber, close to Timbuktu, had “repelled a complex attack, launched simultaneously by several pickups armed with rocket launchers and machine guns”, as dawn broke on Saturday.
Blue helmets chased the unidentified assailants, and a few hours later in the Mopti region, peacekeepers came under attack again, this time through improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
United Nations chief António Guterres, said in a statement issued by his Spokesman, that attacks targeting peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes under international law” and said the UN stood in solidarity with the Government and people of Mali, and is determined to support stabilization efforts inside the country.
Preliminary reports indicate the two peacekeepers from Burkina Faso were killed during the attack against the camp in Ber, and 11 were injured. Four peacekeepers from Togo were injured in the attack in Konna, in Mopti.
The Secretary-General extended his “heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and to the Government of Burkina Faso.” He “expressed solidarity” with the Togolese Government, wishing all the injured a speedy recovery.
The UN Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, Maamat Saleh Annadif, expressed his outrage over the attacks carried out by “enemies of peace”.
“I strongly condemn this brutal attack which will not undermine our determination to support Mali, on its march to peace”, he said. “The perpetrators of these crimes must be prosecuted and made to pay for their actions”, he added.