Mali suicide blast kills UN peacekeepers

Four UN peacekeepers from Chad killed and 10 others including six peacekeepers and four Malian soldiers wounded.

    A suicide attack at a UN camp in northern Mali killed four Chadian peacekeepers and wounded 10 others including six peacekeepers and four Malian soldiers, the country's peacekeeping mission said.

    A vehicle exploded at the entrance of the camp in the town of Aguelhoc, in the Kidal region, at 3:30 pm, according to a UN statement issued on Wednesday evening.

    UN mission chief Albert Koenders condemned the attack as "cowardly and odious."

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacked "in the strongest terms" and extended condolences to the families of the victims, his spokesman said in a statement.

    "This attack will not diminish the resolve of the United Nations to support the Malian people in their efforts to achieve peace and stability for all of Mali," the spokesman said.

    Northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg rebels and then al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups following a military coup in 2012.

    A French-led intervention last year scattered the rebel fighters, though the Tuaregs maintain a heavy presence in Kidal and have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government.

    Tensions escalated sharply last month when Prime Minister Moussa Mara visited Kidal for the first time since his appointment. In response, Tuareg rebels launched an assault on government buildings in the town, killing eight soldiers, six local government officials and two others in what the government described as a "declaration of war."

    It was unclear who carried out Wednesday's attack, which came just one day after three northern Mali rebel groups signed an accord in Algiers pledging to work for peace in the region through inclusive talks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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