Militants kill 6 UN peacekeeping soldiers in Mali
Iran Press TV
Thu Jul 2, 2015 2:57PM
A group of heavily-armed militants has ambushed a United Nations convoy in northern Mali, killing at least six UN peacekeepers and injuring several others.
The UN Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, said in a statement on Thursday that the deadly attack was carried out in Timbuktu and Goundam in Mali's restive northern desert.
'Preliminary reports indicate that six peacekeepers were killed and five others wounded. The evacuation of the wounded is in progress,' it said in a statement.
At least nine UN peacekeepers were also wounded in the assault.
An al-Qaeda franchise has reportedly claimed responsibility for the latest deadly ambush. Mauritania's al-Akhbar news agency said that it had received a statement from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claiming the killing of 'seven MINUSMA soldiers.'
Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists have launched numerous attacks across the region in recent years.
The volatile region has been turned into one of the deadliest places in the world for the UN peacekeeping force. At least 40 peacekeepers have been killed since MINUSMA's inception there more than two years ago.
The UN mission in Mali was established after the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2100 on April 25, 2013. MINUSMA has suffered the largest number of fatalities among the 16 UN missions worldwide.
Mali plunged into violence after President Amadou Toumani Touré was toppled 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.
On June 20, the Tuareg-led rebel alliance, known as the Coordination of Azawad Movements, signed a landmark deal, the Algiers Accord, with the government to end years of unrest in the country.
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