UN peacekeeper killed in blast in Mali’s troubled north

Four other members of the UN mission are injured in the attack that took place close to the country’s border with Algeria.

UN peacekeepers stand guard in the northern town of Kouroume
UN peacekeepers stand guard in the northern town of Kouroume, Mali [File: Adama Diarra/Reuters]

A peacekeeper has died and four others seriously injured in Mali’s volatile north, near the Algerian border when an improvised explosive device went off, the United Nations said.

“One dead and three seriously injured after one of our teams hit an improvised explosive device near Tessalit,” close to the Algerian border, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said on Saturday.

“This incident is a sad reminder of the permanent danger hanging over our peacekeepers and of the sacrifices made for peace in Mali,” the head of Minusma, El-Ghassim Wane, was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Today’s cowardly attack only strengthens MINUSMA’s determination to support Mali and its people in their quest for peace and stability,” he said.

In April, four Chadian peacekeepers from MINUSMA were killed in an attack on their camp in Aguelhok, also in northeastern Mali.

The UN mission has deployed more than 13,000 soldiers to contain violence by armed groups in the north and the centre of the country.

It has recorded about 255 deaths since 2013, making it one of the deadliest of the UN’s more than dozen peacekeeping missions.

Armed fighters linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) have stepped up activity in Africa’s Sahel region in recent years, displacing thousands.

Source: Al Jazeera