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UN peacekeeper killed in Mali mine blast, says United Nations

BAMAKO (AFP) – A UN peacekeeper was killed by a mine yesterday in restive northern Mali as he was participating in a patrol, the head of the UN’s MINUSMA Mali force El Ghassim Wane tweeted.

The peacekeeper was part of the Guinean contingent in MINUSMA, a MINUSMA official told AFP on condition of anonymity. “He was first wounded and died of his injuries at our hospital in Kidal,” he added.

The latest death comes amid tense negotiations on the renewal of MINUSMA’s mandate.

A total of 175 of its peacekeepers have died in hostile acts.

“Terrible news that adds to the long list of our colleagues who lost their lives during their service in Mali,” Wane wrote on Twitter.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are one of the jihadists’ weapons of choice against MINUSMA as well as Malian forces. They also regularly kill civilians.

Mali, a poor and landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, underwent military coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

The political crisis has gone hand in hand with a serious security crisis since 2012 and the outbreak of separatist and extremists insurgencies in the north.

The country is now ruled by a junta that has turned away from France and its partners, and turned to Russia to try to stem the extremists threat that has spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The violence has left thousands of civilians and soldiers dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Malian refugees at a refugee centre in Mauritania. PHOTO: AFP