The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali has confirmed that two of its soldiers were killed in an attack on their convoy in the country’s north.
A logistical convoy of the UN peacekeeping mission travelling between the towns of Tessalit and Gao was attacked on Saturday evening. According to a statement from the mission also known as MINUSMA, the attack carried out by unidentified armed individuals killed two of the soldiers. It did not indicate the nationalities of those killed.
The convoy had stopped when it was attacked near the village of Tarkint, northeast of Gao. The UN troops “retaliated firmly and sent the assailants fleeing”, the statement said.
The head of the UN peacekeeping mission, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, condemned the cowardly acts. He said the attacks were aimed at paralysing the mission’s operations on the ground.
Last month, three troops from the UN peacekeeping mission from Chad were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb. The blast in the northern region of Aguelhok left four more soldiers seriously wounded.
Established in 2013, the UN mission in Mali has some 13,000 troops, drawn from several nations. They are deployed across the vast semi-arid country that has been facing a worsening security situation in recent years.
What began as a localised revolt in Mali’s north in 2012 soon spread to the centre of the country and then to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.
The UN peacekeeping mission, a French military intervention, and military campaigns by national armies have failed to stem the violence. According to UN, the unrest in the region has killed 4,000 people in the three countries last year. It has also displaced hundreds of thousands.