Tags: 9 | killed | northern | mali | un | peacekeepers

9 Killed Northern Mali: UN Peacekeepers Convoy Attacked

By    |   Friday, 03 October 2014 04:28 PM

Nine United Nations peacekeepers were killed in Mali Friday morning after their convoy was ambushed.

"Our understanding is that they were targeted, and they were targeting a convoy that included a fuel truck, knowing full well that a fuel truck, I think, would cause an even greater number of casualties, which I think adds to the horrendous nature of the crime," Stephane Dujarric, a U.N. spokesman, told The Associated Press.

A group of heavily armed men on motorbikes ambushed the convoy of peacekeepers from Niger.

“I am horrified by this cowardly act of terrorism. ... Once again, lives have been lost today in the name of peace in Mali,” Arnauld Akodjenou, deputy head of the UN mission known as Minusma, told Reuters.

A source told the news agency that the convoy was attacked near the Mali and Niger border at a dip in the road.

"This is the deadliest attack that MINUSMA has suffered since the beginning of the mission," Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force called MINUSMA, told the AP. "The toll is rather serious."

A different official told AP that no additional troops were wounded in the attack.

Reuters said the UN peacekeepers have been in the country, working to stabilize it after separatists and Islamists seized northern regions after a coup in 2012. While Mali has asked for the U.N. to send more peacekeepers on the mission, concern has been expressed that those UN troops aren’t trained for counter-insurgency warfare, Reuters said.

Ten peacekeepers from Chad were killed in September in Mali, bringing the death toll for the operation to 30.

“There is lot of concern at the moment,” said one Bamako-based diplomat told Reuters. “There have been concerns since the early French drawdowns [of troops]. But the bad guys seem to have access to much more expertise and kit now too.”

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Nine United Nations peacekeepers were killed in Mali Friday morning after their convoy was ambushed.
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Friday, 03 October 2014 04:28 PM
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