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Bomb Kills Two Peacekeepers in Mali, UN Says

FILE - United Nation forces patrol the streets of Timbuktu, Mali, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.
FILE - United Nation forces patrol the streets of Timbuktu, Mali, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.

Two U.N. peacekeepers were killed and two others were injured on Friday after an improvised bomb exploded in central Mali, a spokesman for the MINUSMA mission tweeted.

The soldiers were part of the Egyptian contingent of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, a security official said.

"The head of MINUSMA condemned the attack," spokesman Olivier Salgado posted.

He said the incident took place near the town of Douentza, on the road to Timbuktu.

On Wednesday, a Jordanian peacekeeper was killed in an attack on his convoy in Kidal, in northern Mali.

With 13,000 members, MINUSMA — the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali — is one of the U.N.'s biggest peacekeeping operations and also one of its most dangerous.

Improvised explosive devices are a weapon of choice for jihadis against MINUSMA and Malian forces. They also kill many civilians.
Seven Togolese peacekeepers were killed in December by an IED explosion between Douentza and Sevare.

On Friday, the Egyptian peacekeepers were in an escort of a dozen U.N. vehicles accompanying a convoy of civilian trucks carrying fuel, Salgado said.

Such convoys can stretch for miles. A mine exploded as the convoy passed, Salgado said. Mines can be detonated on contact or remotely.

Central Mali is a hotbed of violence and jihadi activity that has spread from the north to the center of the country, and then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands of civilians and combatants have died, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

Two reports published this week, one from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and another from the human rights division of MINUSMA, express alarm at the intensification of the violence in central Mali.