Roadside bomb explosion kills UN peacekeepers in central Mali

Seven MINUSMA peacekeepers killed after a UN convoy hit an improvised explosive device, according to the mission.

The UN has more than 13,000 troops in the north and centre of Mali [File: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP]

A roadside bomb explosion in central Mali has killed seven United Nations peacekeepers and seriously wounded three others, according to the UN mission’s statement on Twitter.

A logistics convoy struck an improvised explosive device on Wednesday in the Bandiagara area in the Mopti region when driving between the towns of Douentza and Sevare, an area where groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) operate.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

Mali, one of Africa’s largest and poorest countries, is battling violence that has flourished despite a nine-year effort by international forces led by former colonial power France to defeat it.

The UN’s peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, has deployed more than 13,000 troops to contain the violence in the north and centre of the country that erupted in 2012 and spread three years later to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Thousands of people across the region have died, and about two million have been displaced.

The UN has recorded more than 230 fatalities among its troops since 2013, making it the deadliest of the UN’s more-than-dozen peacekeeping missions.

On Monday, a MINUSMA soldier died from injuries inflicted by a roadside bomb near the northern town of Tessalit on November 22.

He had been rushed for treatment to the Senegalese capital of Dakar with two other injured troops.

Source: News Agencies