Four United Nations peacekeepers killed in Mali

Posted at 6:06 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-24 20:06:31-05

BAMAKO, MALI(CNN) — Four UN peacekeepers and one Malian solider were killed in attacks in Mali, according to a Friday statement from the spokesperson for the secretary-general of the United Nations.

The statement said 21 people were injured in the attacks in the Menaka and Mopti regions, in the eastern and central parts of Mali, respectively, including a civilian contractor with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA, and a member of the Malian armed forces.

Some were in critical condition, according to a statement from the UN mission in Mali.

That statement did not say who carried out the attacks, but noted that several attackers were killed when the UN unit fought back.

The unit was conducting an operation to provide “medical assistance to populations in need” when the attack occurred, the UN mission to Mali said.

The members of the UN Security Council called on the Mali government to swiftly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Security Council said that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the secretary-general for Mali and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, condemned the attack and saluted the bravery of the forces.

Mali has been wracked by violence in recent years, including an insurgency by Islamist and ethnic Tuareg groups that prompted French forces to intervene in the country in 2013. The United Nations established its peacekeeping mission in Mali that year.

Mali, and in particular the Timbuktu region, is one of the world’s deadliest postings for UN peacekeepers.

Last August, five MINUSMA security guards, one member of the Mali National Police and one civilian contractor working for MINUSMA were killed during an attack on MINUSMA headquarters in Timbuktu.

In June, at least two tourists were killed after gunmen attacked a luxury resort popular with Westerners near Mali’s capital city of Bamako.