Mali peacekeepers attacked


A UN peacekeeper was killed and four others wounded when their vehicle hit an explosive device in northern Mali, MINUSMA said.

The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear.

UN peacekeeping and French forces are in Mali to combat jihadist groups threatening security across Africa’s Sahel region.

The soldiers were on patrol near Aguelhok when the blast hit, UN mission spokesman Olivier Salgado tweeted. Elsewhere on Sunday, peacekeepers in Mali’s central region Mopti exchanged fire with an unidentified armed group after coming under attack, he said.

“MINUSMA chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif condemns the resurgence of this type of attack, particularly in the centre of the country,” he said.

The West African country has been in conflict since 2012 when Islamists hijacked an ethnic uprising by Tuaregs in the north. More recently violence moved to central Mali, where fighting between farmers and herders surged this year.

Jihadist groups exploit ethnic rivalries to boost recruitment and render swathes of territory ungovernable.

Less than a week ago, 38 Malian soldiers were killed in a double attack on army camps in central Mali – among the heaviest losses for Mali’s army in recent years.