10 UN peacekeepers killed in attack on Mali’s Aguelhoc camp

At least 10 United Nations peacekeepers from Chad have been killed and 25 others wounded in an attack in northern Mali, according to the UN Mission.

Sunday’s attack targeted the UN peacekeepers camp in Aguelhoc, 200km north of Mali’s Kidal region towards the border with Algeria.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned what he described as a “complex attack”.

The UN camp in Aguelhoc houses peacekeepers from Chad.

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Residents confirmed the assault, saying that attackers came on motorcycles and cars. The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear.

The peacekeepers also reportedly killed a number of the attackers, the mission said, without giving a concrete figure.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said the attack demanded “a robust, swift and concerted response”.

Mali is under threat from a number of armed groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) groups.

The UN has deployed about 12,000 troops and police in its MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali, which ranks as the most dangerous country for the peacekeepers.

Mali, the eighth largest country in Africa and one of the poorest in the world, has been struggling to return to stability after al-Qaeda-linked fighters took control of the northern areas of the country in early 2012, prompting France to intervene militarily.

The fighters were routed in a French-led military operation in 2013, but large stretches of the landlocked Sahel state remain out of government control.

A peace deal between the government and armed groups was signed in 2015, but its implementation has been slow, while attacks continue in central and northern parts of the country.

Earlier this month, both France and the United States criticised the authorities in Mali for their failure to stem the worsening violence.

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