At least three UN peacekeepers and a Malian soldier were killed Friday in an attack in Mali’s northeastern region of Menaka, the UN Mission in the West African nation said in a statement.
“This morning, a MINUSMA [UN mission in Mali] Force Detachment repulsed an attack during a coordinated operation with the FAMAS [Malian Armed Forces] in the region of Menaka,” the statement said.
“According to a provisional report […] three MINUSMA peacekeepers were killed, several were wounded, some in critical condition, and one FAMAS soldier was killed in the attack. Another was wounded,” it said, adding that several attackers were killed and others injured.
Air reinforcement was immediately deployed to secure the scene and facilitate medical evacuations, according to the UN mission.
Mahamat Saleh Annadif, representative of UN Secretary General in Mali condemned the attack.
“I condemn with the utmost energy this attack […] I offer my condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded,” he said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Several terror groups are active in northern Mali, where French, Malian and UN peacekeepers are conducting counterterrorism operations.
Tensions erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a Tuareg rebellion that ultimately allowed al-Qaeda-linked militant groups to take over the northern half of the country.
In 2015, a peace deal was signed between the government and some insurgent groups.
Political and community disputes continue to fuel tensions in northern Mali, thus undermining the implementation of the peace agreement.
MINUSMA was deployed in Mali in July 2013.
Source: Anadolu Agency