Bamako (AFP) – Two UN peacekeepers & a civilian were killed & 14 others were injured in a rocket attack Saturday on a UN base in the northeastern Malian town of Kidal, UN & local sources said.
"Our camp in Kidal was attacked early this morning by terrorists using rockets," said an official from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), adding that two Guinean UN peacekeepers & a civilian contractor were killed. A local official confirmed the report.
Another UN source said 14 others were injured in the attack, including three seriously.
p>The attack came eight days after a siege at a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, in which 20 people died including 14 foreigners.
Armed men held around 170 guests & staff hostage in the November 20 siege that lasted approximately nine hours before Malian & international forces stormed the hotel to free the captives.
Two separate jihadist groups claimed responsibility for the hotel assault: the Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate led by notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, & the Macina Liberation Front (LWF) from central Mali.
Mali has been torn apart by unrest since the north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012.
The Islamists were largely ousted by a French-led military intervention early the following year, yet large swathes of Mali remain lawless & prone to extremist attacks.
MINUSMA's mission has been the costliest for UN peacekeepers in terms of human lives since the 1993-95 UNOSOM II mission in Somalia.
France has more than 1,000 troops in Mali, a former colony & a key battleground of its Barkhane counter-terror mission spanning five countries in Africa's restive Sahel region.
Unrest, Conflicts & WarPolitics & GovernmentMaliUN peacekeepers