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Two UN peacekeepers killed in Mali, four wounded

A convoy from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) hit an improvised explosive device north of Mopti on Monday, killing at least two ‘blue helmets’, from Egypt, and wounding four others.

In a statement, MINUSMA said the peacekeepers were part of a logistics convoy on its way to Timbuktu.

Saddened by the death of 2 #Peacekeepers killed today near Mopti when their vehicle, part of an @UN_MINUSMA logistics convoy, hit an #IED. 4 others were wounded. This is a tragic reminder of the daily threat facing us as we strive to further #peace in #Mali. #ServiceandSacrifice

— El-Ghassim Wane (@elghassimw) March 7, 2022

The UN Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, El-Ghassim WANE, strongly condemned the attack in the volatile central region of Mali, where Government forces have been fighting an Islamist insurgency for the past decade.

Possible war crime

MINUSMA said that Mr. WANE “recalls that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. He calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort to identify the perpetrators of these attacks so that they can be quickly brought to justice.”

He stressed that this latest attack, like the others that preceded it, “is a further reminder of the urgent need for even more sustained efforts to stabilize central Mali.”

In a tweet, the MINUSMA head reinforced that blue helmets, in what continues to be the most dangerous UN peacekeeping operation in the world, faced a “daily threat as we “strive to further peace in Mali”. More than 250 have died since 2013.

In a separate attack on Monday on Government forces, at least two soldiers died in the northern region of Gao, just three days after another clash with insurgents left 27 dead, and 32 wounded, according to news reports.

UN Peacekeeping chief, Jean Pierre Lacroix, tweeted his "most sincere condolences to the Egyptian Government, and people, and the families" of the two who lost their lives, in service of peace. "These crimes must not go unpunished", he said.

Crises mount

The growing insecurity in the central region has fed the humanitarian crisis in the country, along with deep political uncertainty, following military coups in 2020 and 2021.

Last month, the UN launched its 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, seeking $686 million from donors to help more than five million of Mali’s most vulnerable citizens.