Africa

2 UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

4 others injured, says official

James Tasamba   | 07.03.2022
2 UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

KIGALI, Rwanda

Two UN peacekeepers died and four others were injured Monday in Mali when their logistics convoy hit an improvised explosive device, a UN official said.

The incident occurred north of the Mopti region, according to Olivier Salgado, spokesperson for the peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA.

“This morning, a logistics convoy of UN MINUSMA hit an improvised explosive device north of Mopti. According to preliminary assessment, the explosion caused the death of two peacekeepers, four others were injured,” he said in a tweet.

MINUSMA maintains more than 13,000 troops in the north and center of Mali to contain growing violence.

Since 2012, Mali has been battling violence orchestrated by militants in northern and central Mali targeting both soldiers and civilians.

Last week, 27 Malian soldiers were killed and 33 wounded following an attack by insurgents on a security post in the Mopti region.

Last month, European leaders announced the withdrawal of their forces deployed in Mali as part of a counter-terrorism mission, citing obstructions by Mali transitional authorities.

Senior al-Qaeda leader killed

Meanwhile, the French army announced on Monday that it had killed a senior member of al-Qaeda in Mali.

In a statement, the French forces said Algerian Yahia Djouadi, who goes by the alias Abu Ammar al-Jazairi, was killed in an overnight operation conducted on Feb. 25 by the Barkhane force, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of the city of Timbuktu.

Noting that Djouadi had been instrumental in al-Qaeda's expansion and terrorism in West Africa, it said his death would weaken and isolate the group, which calls itself al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The statement added that the French troops had intended to capture him alive, but Djouadi did not allow for his capture, which led to his death.

Djouadi, a seasoned member of the terror group, was reportedly an aide to the leader emir of the regional group, Abdelmalek Droukdel, who was killed in June 2020 by French forces.

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