Islamist extremists kill 10 UN peacekeepers in Mali

Secretary-general Antonio Guterres says attack could be a war crime

Zamira Rahim
Monday 21 January 2019 00:00 GMT
A solider from the United Nations Mission in Mali
A solider from the United Nations Mission in Mali

Jihadists in Mali have massacred a group of 10 United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in a targeted attack that wounded at least 25 more people.

The al-Qaeda affiliated extremists attacked the group's Aguelhoc camp early on Sunday morning, the spokesperson for Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said in a statement.

Eyewitnesses living nearby said that the attackers arrived on motorbikes and cars.

The peacekeepers "responded robustly" and killed a number of the assailants, according to the UN.

"Attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law," the organisation said in a statement.

"The secretary-general calls on the Malian spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack so that they can be brought to justice as swiftly as possible."

The UN's mission in Mali was established in 2013 and is one of the organisation's deadliest peacekeeping efforts.

A number of jihadist groups, linked to al-Qaeda and Isis, have grown increasingly powerful in Mali and are now targeting the more populated south of the country instead of the West African nation's arid north.

Peacekeepers from Chad have borne the brunt of the violence, with 51 killed by the end of 2018.

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The UN's 15,000 strong mission aims to combat the militants, alongside Malian and French troops and a five-nation regional counterterror force.

Additional reporting by agencies

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