Roadside bombs kills 5 UN peacekeepers in Mali

AP News
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Posted: Sep 19, 2014 12:48 AM

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A roadside bomb in northern Mali killed five U.N. peacekeepers and wounded several others on Thursday, a spokesman said of the latest in a string of deadly attacks on the force.

A car carrying Chadian troops hit the explosive north of Aguel'hoc, which is near the embattled city of Kidal, said Olivier Salgado.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage at the attack and called on armed groups meeting in Algiers to take immediate action on their Sept. 16 declaration to collaborate with the U.N. mission to prevent "these cowardly attacks," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"These continued assaults against the United Nations must cease immediately," Dujarric said.

Since the U.N. mission in Mali began on July 1, 2013, he said 21 peacekeepers have been killed by explosive devices and 84 wounded.

Earlier this month, four U.N. peacekeepers were killed and several were wounded when their convoy hit a mine in the same region. Another mine killed a peacekeeper earlier this week.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility and Salgado did not speculate on who was responsible for the bomb. Previous land mines have been blamed on Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida, and they have taken responsibility for some.

Northern Mali fell under control of Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but some remain active in the countryside and there have been continued bursts of violence.

U.N. troops are now trying to stabilize the north, and peace talks have begun between the Malian government and Tuaregs, who maintain a heavy presence in Kidal and have resisted the authority of the Bamako-based government. Al-Qaida is not participating in those discussions.