A UN peacekeeper was killed and three others injured Wednesday in a “terrorist attack” on their convoy in Kidal, northern Mali, the MINUSMA mission said. The casualties were members of the mission’s Jordanian contingent, a security official said separately on condition of anonymity.
The convoy was hit by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in an attack that lasted about an hour, MINUSMA spokesman Olivier Salgado tweeted.
“Unfortunately, one of the blue helmets succumbed to his wounds following the attack,” he posted in French.
The identity of the alleged assailants was not revealed.
El-Ghassim Wane, the UN’s special envoy for Mali and commander of MINUSMA, said in a statement that the peacekeepers resisted the heavily armed assault.
“I strongly condemn this incident, which is yet another desperate attempt by terrorist groups to sabotage Mali’s drive for peace and MINUSMA’s mission,” he added.
The attack was the fifth in a week in Mali’s Kidal region, according to the statement.
In 2013, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was dispatched to help stabilize the fragile Sahel state in the face of terrorist threats.
The mission is one of the UN’s largest and most deadly peacekeeping deployments, with 13,000 members. According to the report, 172 personnel have died as a result of hostile conduct.
Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been wracked by a decade-long terrorist conflict that has cost thousands of lives and displaced hundreds of thousands.
In its efforts to quell the violence that began in the north of the country and moved to the middle, then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, the ruling junta has turned away from France and toward Russia.