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One UN peacekeeper killed in Mali mine explosion

UN peacekeepers. PHOTO: www.un.org

A UN peacekeeper was killed and four others wounded on Saturday after a mine exploded as their convoy passed through central Mali, the UN mission in the country said.

The blast hit part of the Egyptian contingent of the UN force close to the Burkina Faso border, a source close to the UN stabilisation mission in Mali (MINUSMA) told AFP.

MINUSMA chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif called it a “cowardly attack”.

The attackers “will be held accountable for their actions”, he said.

UN force commander Dennis Gyllensporre said in a statement that peacekeepers “reacted proactively and robustly, which neutralised and detained attackers”.

One attacker was killed and six others captured, according to a security source.

The UN mission was established in Mali after radical Islamist militias seized the north of the country in 2012. They were pushed back by French troops in 2013.

A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability. But the accord has failed to stop the violence.

Since their deployment in 2013, more than 190 peacekeepers have died in Mali, including nearly 120 killed by hostile action, making MINUSMA the UN’s deadliest peacekeeping operation, accounting for more than half of blue helmets killed globally in the past five years.

On Thursday President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s office said he had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his entire cabinet.

It came after lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties submitted a motion of no confidence blaming Maiga and his administration for failing to clamp down on the unrest.

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