10 UN peacekeepers killed, 25 injured in Mali attack

Source:AFP Published: 2019/1/21 18:02:25

Jihadist gunmen killed 10 Chadian peacekeepers and injured at least 25 others in an attack on a UN camp in northern Mali on Sunday, one of the deadliest strikes against the UN mission in the African country.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was "in reaction" to the visit to Chad by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the Mauritanian Al-Akhbar news agency, which regularly receives statements from this jihadist group.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned what he described as a "complex attack" on the camp in Aguelhok, in Kidal region and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"Ten peacekeepers from Chad were killed and at least 25 injured," said a statement from UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

The gunmen struck early Sunday at the Aguelhok base 200 kilometers north of Kidal and towards the border with Algeria, according to a source close to the MINUSMA mission.

"MINUSMA forces responded robustly and a number of assailants were killed," Dujarric said, without specifying the toll. 

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the UN envoy for Mali, condemned what he called a "vile and criminal" attack. "Peacekeepers of the MINUSMA force at Aguelhok fought off a sophisticated attack by assailants who arrived on several armed vehicles," he said in a statement.

The attack "illustrates the determination of the terrorists to sow chaos."

"It demands a robust, immediate and concerted response from all forces to destroy the peril of terrorism in the Sahel," said the statement.

Some 13,000 peacekeepers are deployed in Mali as part of a UN mission.

It was established after Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012. They were pushed back by French troops in 2013.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability to Mali. But the accord has failed to stop violence by Islamist militants, who have also staged attacks in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Posted in: AFRICA

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