UN peacekeeper killed in attack in Mali’s Kidal

Three deaths reported in northern city, a day after blast in Bamako restaurant killed five people, including UN experts.

At least three people, including a UN peacekeeper, have been killed in an attack near the northern Malian town of Kidal.

Dozens of rockets and shells were fired towards a UN base just outside the desert town early on Sunday, and at least one of them fell on a Tuareg camp, Radhia Achouri, a UN spokesperson, told Al Jazeera from the capital Bamako.

“It was a terrorist attack of a very complex nature, in the sense that they used mortars and shells from different locations; from the north and the south of the base,” she said.

“They launched at least 30 mortars at the camp and some of them landed inside the camp, which explains the casualty among our men and the civilians as well.”

The attack near Kidal came just a day after an attack on a restaurant in Bamako killed five people, including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer with the EU delegation in Mali.

Two international experts with the United Nations Mine Action Service were among the nine people wounded in the Bamako attack, according to the UN peacekeeping mission to Mali, MINUSMA.

Three Malians were killed in the attack in and around Bamako’s La Terrasse restaurant, which is popular with expatriates, the Malian government said, describing Saturday’s attack.

Mali’s desert north, where French forces wrested control of territory from separatist rebels and al-Qaeda-linked fighters, is plagued by frequent political violence, but Saturday’s attack was the first in years in Bamako, in the south.

France has more than 3,000 soldiers in West Africa as part of a counter-insurgency force against al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

Mali’s government has signed a preliminary peace proposal meant to end fighting with northern separatists, but the Tuareg-led rebels have demanded more time before agreeing to any accord.

The French embassy in Mali said on Saturday it had alerted its citizens and tightened security.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies