Two UN peacekeepers shot dead near Timbuktu in Mali

UN peacekeeping mission says four others were wounded in the attack carried out by an unidentified gunman on Friday.

Mali Peacekeepers
Peacekeeping's future is in doubt as violence rages in Mali's centre, north and east [File: Adama Diarra/Reuters]

An unidentified gunman has shot and killed two officers from the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali while they were on patrol near the city of Timbuktu, according to mission head El-Ghassim Wane.

“I condemn this heinous act and wish a speedy recovery to the four other injured peacekeepers,” Wane tweeted on Friday.

The UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) “strongly condemned” the deadly attack.

“A United Nations police patrol was attacked on December 16 in Timbuktu [northern Mali]. Two of our police officers, including a woman, lost their lives and four others were injured, one of them seriously,” MINUSMA said in a tweet.

Mali has been grappling with an armed rebellion since 2012. Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

MINUSMA’s peacekeeping future is in doubt as violence rages in the centre, north and east of the African nation.

Mali saw two military coups within a year between 2020 and 2021.

There have also been growing tensions between the UN mission and Mali’s military rulers following the alleged arrival of Russia’s Wagner Group fighters to bolster the government’s forces.

Germany said on Thursday its forces will stay in Mali within the MINUSMA deployment until 2024 only if the military government allows them to operate freely and elections are held.

Germany has about 1,100 troops in Mali, according to Berlin. It is the seventh country to decide in recent months to stop or suspend its participation in the UN mission.

Last month, the United Kingdom and Ivory Coast announced they were withdrawing from MINUSMA, one of the UN’s biggest operations.

France this year withdrew troops from its former colony, deployed separately under its Barkhane mission in the Sahel. The force had helped provide air support for MINUSMA.

Source: News Agencies