The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, says a roadside bomb has killed three peacekeepers and seriously injured five others.
MINUSMA said in a statement that the U.N. peacekeepers were killed in central Mali Tuesday when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.
The statement says that MINUSMA “is one of the most dangerous peace operations for peacekeepers,” with 168 peacekeepers killed in “hostile acts” since the establishment of the mission in 2013.
Mali and the greater Sahel region have been battling an Islamist insurgency since 2012, when Islamists took over the north of the country. The French army intervened in 2013 to help Mali take back control of the north but withdrew from the country last year due to concerns about Mali’s military government working with Russian Wagner Group mercenaries.
Mali has been under military rule since an August 2020 coup. The government denies working with Russian mercenaries, but human rights groups and journalists have documented several alleged human rights abuses committed by them since reports of their arrival in the country.
The military government expelled MINUSMA’s spokesperson last year after Ivorian soldiers arriving as support for a U.N. contingent in Mali were arrested at Bamako’s airport. The director of the mission’s human rights division was expelled this month.
Violence has continued to plague the Sahel in recent years.
Fifty-one Burkinabé soldiers were killed last week in Burkina Faso’s north in a suspected Islamist attack.
A police officer and a civilian were killed on Monday in an IED attack in western Mali.
No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on the U.N. peacekeepers.
Source: Voice of America