Unidentified assailants have opened fire on two United Nations peacekeepers in Mali’s capital Bamako, killing one and wounding the other, security sources have said.
“Armed men that we have not yet identified shot at two peacekeepers who were on board a UN vehicle on Monday night. One of them was killed and the other seriously wounded,” a Malian security source told the AFP news agency.
“We are seeking clarification and details. This has to be viewed as a terrorist act. The perpetrators are the enemies of peace,” the source added.
A source from MINUSMA, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali, said that the two UN soldiers were from Bangladesh.
He said the peacekeepers had been travelling from Bamako airport towards the south of the city when they were shot at by assailants from a car.
With more than 40 peacekeepers killed since its inception in 2013, the 11,000-strong MINUSMA is considered the most dangerous UN mission in the world.
It is regularly targeted by armed groups in the north and, while attacks in the capital are rare, Monday’s ambush came just five days after an assailant opened fire on a UN residence in the city’s Faso Kanu neighbourhood.
The unidentified gunman shot and wounded a civilian guard and hurled two grenades which failed to explode in the early hours of Wednesday last week, but no troops were hurt.
The country’s northern desert has been plagued by violence by armed groups that seized control of the region from Tuareg rebels before being routed by a French-led international intervention that began in 2013.
Despite peaceful elections after the French operation, the country remains deeply divided and the north has seen an upsurge in attacks by pro-government militias and the Tuareg-led rebellion known as the CMA.