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Mali: Blast kills 7 UN peacekeepers

December 8, 2021

A roadside explosive left at least seven people dead and three gravely injured. The UN mission to the Sahel has seen more fatalities than any other.

A UN peacekeeper in Mali
MINUSMA — the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali — began its deployment to the troubled Sahel state in 2013Image: Amaury Hauchard/Getty Images/AFP

At least seven United Nations peacekeeping soldiers died on Wednesday when their vehicle struck an explosive in central Mali. 

"The initial toll is seven dead and three seriously injured," MINUSMA, the UN mission to the Sahel region, wrote on Twitter.

The incident occurred as a logistical convoy was moving between towns in the Bandiagara area of the Mopti region, which has seen increased extremist activity in recent months.

On Monday, another MINUSMA soldier died after a similar roadside blast incident that took place on November 22. He was rushed to a hospital in Senegal's capital Dakar but succumbed to his injuries.

Mali has been at the center of a jihadist insurgency since 2012, which has spread at times into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. The conflict has cost thousands of lives and forced some 2 million people to flee their homes. Many attacks are carried out by militants loyal to al Qaeda or the "Islamic State," but the so-called self-defense forces fighting with tacit military approval have also participated in numerous attacks on civilians.

MINUSMA has some 16,500 personnel, including 10,700 troops stationed in the region from more than 60 countries. The UN has said that the mission has suffered more fatalities than any other, with attacks having killed over 150 members.

es/msh (AFP, dpa)