Several UN peacekeepers killed in explosion in central Mali

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Seven United Nations peacekeepers were killed on Wednesday when a logistics convoy struck an explosive device in central Mali, the UN mission MINUSMA said.

“The initial death toll is seven dead and three seriously injured,” he said on Twitter, without specifying the nationality of the victims.

The incident occurred in the Bandiagara area in the Mopti region, as the convoy was heading towards Sevare from Douentza, he said.

On Monday, a MINUSMA soldier died of wounds inflicted by a roadside bomb near the town of Tessalet (north) on November 22.

He had been rushed to Dakar, the Senegalese capital, with two other wounded soldiers.

Mali is the epicenter of a jihadist insurgency that began in the north of the country in 2012 and spread three years later to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Thousands of people in the region have died and an estimated two million have been displaced.

Attacks were carried out by militants affiliated with Al Qaeda or the Islamic State group, but many civilian casualties were also caused by so-called self-defense forces.

MINUSMA, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, began its deployment in the troubled Sahel state in 2013.

It has 16,500 people, including 10,700 soldiers, according to its website.

The UN says the mission has suffered the most deaths of all its peacekeeping operations in the world, with acts of hostility causing 146 deaths as of October 31.

(AFP)

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