BAMAKO (Reuters) – Suspected extremist militants attacked a UN base in northern Mali with car bombs and rockets on Saturday, killing one Chadian member of the UN peacekeeping mission and wounding another, the mission said.
Mali is still recovering from a period of turmoil that began in 2012 when Al-Qaeda-linked fighters seized its desert north in the wake of a Tuareg uprising. A French-led military operation in early 2013 scattered them but extremist fighters have intensified their attacks in recent months.
Gunfire erupted from the area of the UN camp in Kidal in the morning, followed by the sound of rockets exploding, residents said. The shooting lasted around 10 minutes.
The peacekeeper was killed when a suicide bomber exploded his vehicle at a UN checkpoint around a kilometre from the peacekeepers’ camp, the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said in a statement.
A second vehicle exploded at one of the entrances to the base, it said. Eight rockets were fired at the camp but only two of them landed inside, causing serious material damage, it said.
“Such violence targeting the UN peacekeeping forces is a serious crime. Those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Arnauld Akodjenou, deputy UN special representative for Mali.
In New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council both condemned the attack.
The council called on the government to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.