MALI: A suspected militant attack in central Mali has killed one soldier from the United Nations peacekeeping mission and two other civilians.
The three were killed Sunday when traveling through the Mopti region in central Mali as part of a military convoy.
The soldier was from Togo, military sources said, adding that a number of UN peacekeepers were also injured in the attack.
“We have lost, among our injured, a Togolese peacekeeper. There are also some injured,” a source said, without elaborating on the number of peacekeepers wounded. He said the injured soldiers and personnel were swiftly transferred to a hospital to receive treatment.
A local official said the incident seriously injured two other civilians who were following the military convoy.
“The attack took place not far from the town of Douentza. The civilians were following the UN mission’s convoy,” said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. He said the pair’s future was “uncertain.”
The UN peacekeeping force in Mali, known as MINUSMA, has more than 11,000 military and police personnel from various nations. It has been established to guarantee security in lawless swathes of the vast Sahel nation. The force has been the UN’s deadliest active deployment, with more than 30 peacekeepers killed this year alone.
MINUSMA was deployed in 2013, months after France’s military intervention began in January that year to drive militants out of the country. However, domestic or foreign troops have yet to fully exert their control over large tracts of Mali.
On Sunday, Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan was in Bamako for talks on the deployment of 600 Canadian peacekeepers to Mali and other parts of Africa. The deployment could come after January when Dutch peacekeepers end their mission.
Also on Sunday, armed men stole weapons and vehicles from an army base in the restive northern region of Mali after ransacking the base.