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Iran Press TV

3 UN peacekeepers injured in Mali landmine blast

Iran Press TV

Thu May 28, 2015 6:11PM

Three United Nations peacekeeping forces have been injured after their convoy triggered landmines in central Mali, sources say.

Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Major General Michael Lollesgaard and the mission's police chief Abdounasir Awale 'escaped death on Thursday in the Timbuktu region when mines on the route of their convoy wounded three peacekeepers from Burkina Faso', a source in the force told AFP.

Lollesgaard and Awale were on a field visit when the vehicle triggered at least one mine between the towns of Dire and Ber, another MINUSMA source said.

It was 'very likely' that the mines had been planted just before the convoy's arrival to target the two commanders, because security forces had checked the route a few hours earlier, the source added.

MINUSMA denounced the "terrorist act" in a statement released following the incident.

'MINUSMA strongly condemns this terrorist act which aimed to paralyze the mission's operations in this part of Mali,' the statement said, adding, 'Mines in Mali indiscriminately affect United Nations personnel and innocent civilians.'

The UN has worked over the past months to bring back stability to the landlocked West African country.

Mali's President Amadou Toumani Touré was deposed in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said the ouster of Touré was in response to the government's failure to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north, where the rebels are fighting to gain autonomy.

In January 2012, the Tuareg rebels took control of northern Mali, which they call Azawad. The country has since experienced months of turmoil.


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