Three UN peacekeepers killed, eight wounded in Mali attack


Daily life at the under construction camp of the UN Peacekeepers from Netherlands in Gao.

BAMAKO - United Nations peacekeepers in Mali once again came under attack, with three killed and eight others wounded in Kidal, in the troubled north on Thursday. 

The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, began work in 2013, providing security and assisting Malian troops struggling to keep the country safe. MINUSMA was a constant target for jihadists, with dozens of peacekeepers killed.

On Thursday the UN camp "came under heavy rocket/mortar fire" and "a little later a position nearby was attacked" outside their base, the UN mission said in a statement.

The three peacekeepers were killed in the second incident.

READ: Security in Mali 'worrying': UN peacekeepers

The attack was just the latest to target the 12,000-strong force in the west African nation. Guinean and Chadian soldiers made up the majority of soldiers at the Kidal camp.

The UN mission said it "condemned in the strongest terms these cowardly attacks against its personnel and the danger they cause for the civilian population."

The attackers should be identified and tried as quickly as possible, the statement added.

Northern Mali fell to jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in March 2012, and although these forces were driven out of key towns by a French-led military intervention the following year, the Islamists spread further south.

READ: Fifth UN peacekeeper found dead after C.Africa attack

Since 2015, jihadists targeted Mali's centre and their activities spilled over into neighbouring countries including Niger and Burkina Faso.

On Tuesday France asked the UN Security Council to authorise the deployment of a five-nation African military force to fight jihadists in the Sahel region, with its base in Mali.

The force would be under a separate command from MINUSMA and France's own counter-terror force in the Sahel region, but would be backed by the UN and European Union.