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Gunmen Attack UN Base in Mali; 7 Dead

Map of Timbuktu, Mali
Map of Timbuktu, Mali

The United Nations says gunmen have attacked a U.N. peacekeeping base in the northern Mali city of Timbuktu, killing seven people.

U.N. officials say the dead include five Malian security guards, a gendarme and a Malian contractor working for the U.N. mission.

They say six assailants were also killed by U.N. peacekeepers during the Monday afternoon attack.

The violence follows an attack earlier Monday in which armed men opened fire on U.N. peacekeepers and Malian troops in the central Malian town of Douentza. One peacekeeper and one Malian soldier were killed in that attack.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attacks and said they may constitute war crimes under international law.

No one has claimed responsibility for Monday’s violence, however Islamist militants frequently target the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali. More than 100 peacekeepers have been killed in Mali, making it the most deadly of the United Nations’ 16 global peacekeeping operations.

U.N. peacekeepers along with French forces are in Mali to help the country deal with the remnants of an Islamic insurgency in the north. Al-Qaida-linked militants briefly took over the north of the country in 2012 after a failed coup in Bamako.

The militants have also spread to southern Mali, along the border with Burkina Faso.

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