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Fighters disguised as peacekeepers attack UN base in Mali

At least one peacekeeper killed and dozen others wounded in twin suicide attack in Timbuktu, UN mission says.

peacekeepers

At least one UN peacekeeper has been killed and a dozen others wounded in a twin suicide attack on a base in the northern Malian town of Timbuktu, the UN mission said.

Fighters also fired dozens of rockets at the base and engaged troops in a gun battle on Saturday afternoon, MINUSMA said, adding that the situation is now under control. 

"MINUSMA confirms a significant complex attack on its camp in Timbuktu; mortars, exchange of fire, vehicle suicide bomb attack," the mission tweeted. "One blue helmet was killed in the exchange of fire."

Malian government spokespersons said the attackers were disguised as UN peacekeepers. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

In February, four UN peacekeepers were killed and four more were wounded after their vehicle hit an explosive device in the central Mopti region. 

The UN mission in Mali, which has more than 11,000 troops and was established in 2013, is one of the most dangerous peacekeeping operations in the world, with troops and convoys regularly coming under attack from armed groups.

According to UN figures, more than 162 members of the mission have been killed since 2013.

A 2015 peace deal signed by the government and armed groups has failed to end violence in northern Mali by rebel groups, who have also staged assaults on high-profile targets in the capital, Bamako, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

In 2013, French forces intervened to drive back armed fighters who had hijacked a Tuareg uprising a year earlier, and some 4,000 French troops remain.

The UN Security Council then deployed peacekeepers to the country, but they have been targets of a concerted guerrilla campaign.


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