UN: At least 1 peacekeeper killed in Mali attack

AP News
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Posted: Oct 07, 2014 11:41 PM

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A Senegalese peacekeeper with the United Nations was killed in a rocket attack Tuesday afternoon on a joint U.N.-French base in northern Mali, officials with the U.N. and Senegal said.

The spokesman for the U.N. mission in Mali, Olivier Salgado, said eight rockets struck in the city of Kidal, killing one soldier. He said the identity of the attackers was not immediately known.

A spokesman for Senegal's army, Col. Abou Thiam, confirmed late Tuesday the peacekeeper was Senegalese and said two other Senegalese peacekeepers were lightly injured.

The attack came as the U.N. peacekeeping chief, Herve Ladsous, was visiting Mali after the death of nine peacekeepers in a separate assault last week. He recently told reporters that as French troops have drawn down in the region, the situation for peacekeepers has become "intolerable."

Ladsous told a press conference Tuesday that peacekeepers in Mali will be equipped with combat helicopters and drones in the next two or three months.

In a statement Tuesday night, the U.N. Security Council condemned the attack "in the strongest terms" and urged Mali's government to quickly investigate and bring those responsible to justice.

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that Ban was "outraged" by the attack.

The U.N. mission in Mali says 30 peacekeepers have been killed and 90 injured since the mission was established last July to stabilize Mali's north, which fell under the control of Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a 2012 coup.

U.N. troops are now trying to stabilize the north, and peace talks have begun between the Malian government and Tuaregs. In late June, the force comprised of 11,200 military personnel and 1,440 international police.

Three Senegalese peacekeepers have now died in northern Mali. Senegal has deployed 700 soldiers and 145 gendarmes to the U.N. mission.

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Associated Press writers Babacar Dione in Dakar and Cara Anna at the United Nations contributed to this report.