Explosion kills three UN peacekeepers in northern Mali | World

An armoured personnel carrier of The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is parked in Timbuktu, September 19, 2016. AFP/Sebastien Rieussec/Files

ABIDJAN: Three United Nations soldiers were killed and two others wounded by an explosive device as they were escorting a convoy in northern Mali on Thursday, the peacekeeping mission in the West African nation said.

More than 80 members of the UN mission — known as MINUSMA — have been killed since 2013 in attacks by militant groups active in the country’s north and centre.

The mission said in a statement that the peacekeepers’ vehicle struck the explosive device between the northern towns of Tessalit and Aguelhok around 2:30 PM (7:30 PM GMT).

It did not identify the nationalities of the soldiers involved.

“I condemn with the greatest energy such abject acts, whose only objective is to destabilize the country and harm the peace process underway in Mali,” said interim mission chief Koen Davidse.

The rise of extremist groups — some linked to al Qaeda and Daesh — in the arid Sahel has alarmed Western powers like France, which has deployed thousands of troops to the region in response.

Four US Special Forces troops were killed earlier this month in neighbouring Niger by fighters believed to belong to a local Daesh affiliate operating out of Mali.

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