Seven peacekeepers from the West African nation of Togo were killed Wednesday when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in central Mali, according to the United Nations.
U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters that three other Togolese peacekeepers were seriously injured in the explosion in the Bandiagara region. He said the peacekeepers were part of a logistics convoy traveling between the towns of Douentza and Sevare.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Togo contributes about 930 personnel to the 16,000-strong U.N. force in Mali, known as the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA.
Dujarric said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and called on Malian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In Mali’s capital, Bamako, MINUSMA chief El-Ghassim Wane also condemned the attack and said it could constitute a war crime in accordance with international law.
The peacekeeping force was established in 2013 to help stabilize Mali following a coup and a takeover of the north by Islamist militant groups.
Groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group remain active in the country and frequently attack MINUSMA personnel.
Dujarric said a peacekeeper from Egypt died in a hospital Monday from injuries he suffered during an attack in northern Mali last month.
Wane said, “MINUSMA is the peace operation where the peacekeepers have paid the heaviest price, with over 200 soldiers killed in the line of duty.”
Source: Voice of America