BAMAKO (dpa) – Nine UN peacekeepers were killed Friday in an ambush in north-eastern Mali, a spokesman for the UN mission in the West African country said.
It was the deadliest attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali, which is recovering from a military coup and a conservative insurgency.
“We understand that a number of assailants drove up to and blocked the convoy,” mission spokesman Olivier Salgado told dpa.
“They were on motorbikes and used rocket launchers.”
He said the mission also lost two pick-up trucks and a fuel truck in the attack.
The UN soldiers, who are from Niger, were killed while on patrol between the towns of Menaka and Salgado.
The attack brings the total number of peacekeepers killed since the beginning of the mission to 30.
Another 90 peacekeepers have also been injured in hostile acts against UN troops.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was “shocked and outraged” by the attack and called for the perpetrators of the act to be brought to justice, said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for Ban.
The UN Security Council also condemned the “targeted ambush” against the mission “in the strongest terms” and warned that attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes.
Arnauld Akodjenou, the UN mission’s deputy special representative, said, “I am horrified by this cowardly and heinous terrorist act which causes me anger and indignation.”
“Once again, lives have been lost in the name of peace in Mali,” he said. “These crimes must not go unpunished.”