Timbuktu, Mali (AFP): Two peacekeepers in Mali were killed and four others wounded in an attack on Friday, the UN mission said, in the latest blow to the international operation.
Unidentified assailants opened fire on the police patrol in Timbuktu, according to the UN mission, known as MINUSMA.
“The attack left two Peacekeepers’ dead, including a woman. Four other peacekeepers were injured, one of them seriously,” the MINUSMA statement said. “They are currently receiving appropriate care at the MINUSMA military hospital in Timbuktu.”
According to a UN Security Council statement, the attack killed two Nigerian peacekeepers as well as a member of the Malian defence and security forces.
The Security Council condemned the attack “in the strongest terms” and urged the government to quickly investigate.
MINUSMA head El-Ghassim Wane tweeted that he was “deeply shocked” by the incident, while a MINUSMA official in Timbuktu told AFP the group had sent in a rapid reaction force around 30 minutes after the attack.
Timbuktu regional governor Bakoun Kante told AFP that the assailants ran into an army patrol on fleeing the scene and one soldier and one attacker were killed in an ensuing exchange of fire. Kante added the situation was now under control.
Mali has struggled against a jihadist insurgency since 2012. Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.
MINUSMA’s future is in doubt as violence rages in the centre, north and east.
Mali’s military staged a coup in August 2020, followed by a second takeover in May 2021.
Germany said Thursday its forces will stay in Mali within the MINUSMA deployment until 2024 only if the junta allows them to operate freely and elections are held.
Germany has about 1,100 troops in Mali, according to Berlin.
It is the seventh country to decide in recent months to stop or suspend its participation in the UN mission.
The German military has been in Mali since 2013, with a presence of up to 1,400 soldiers as part of the MINUSMA mission, mostly based near Gao in the north.
But it has faced increasing difficulties in recent months, repeatedly having to suspend reconnaissance patrols after the junta denied over-flight rights.