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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Eight UN peacekeepers killed in northern Mali

The UN peacekeeping head said that attack demanded "a robust, swift and concerted response."

The first Canadian troops load into United Nations troop carriers as they arrive at a United Nations base in Gao, Mali. AP
The first Canadian troops load into United Nations troop carriers as they arrive at a United Nations base in Gao, Mali. AP

Eight UN peacekeepers were killed and several were wounded while repelling an attack by armed assailants near the village of Aguelhok in northern Mali early on Sunday, the West African nation's UN mission said.

The head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Mahamat Saleh Annadif said the attack demanded "a robust, swift and concerted response."

The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear. UN peacekeeping and French forces are stationed in northern Mali to combat well-armed jihadist groups seen as the gravest threat to security across Africa's Sahel region.

A 2015 peace deal signed by Mali’s government and separatist groups has failed to end the violence. Islamists have also staged assaults on high-profile targets in the capital, Bamako, and in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

French forces intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive back fighters who had hijacked a Tuareg uprising a year earlier, and some 4,000 French troops remain there. The UN Security Council then deployed peacekeepers, which have been targets of a concerted guerrilla campaign.

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Updated: January 20, 2019 05:52 PM

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