At least three folks, like two UN peacekeepers and a civilian, have been killed and 20 other people injured in a rocket attack on a UN base in the north-eastern Malian town of Kidal, UN sources say.
“Our camp in Kidal was attacked early this morning by terrorists making use of rockets,” an official from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) stated.
A neighborhood official confirmed the report. It is the newest sign the West African country’s Islamist insurgency is intensifying.
French troops and the 10,000-robust UN force have struggled to stabilise the former French colony, exactly where Islamist militants attacked a hotel in the capital on November 20 and killed 20 folks.
“They fired rockets from about 4:00am inside the MINUSMA camp,” Olivier Salgado, deputy chief of communication in the peacekeeping mission, stated.
“We have three dead and four seriously injured,” he mentioned, adding that there have been a total of 20 wounded and that health-related evacuations had been underway.
A security source in north Mali who wished to remain anonymous mentioned the Kidal camp had received a warning two days before the attack from an unnamed jihadist group. A nearby deputy for Kidal Ahmoudene Ag Ikmasse also blamed radical Islamists.
Africa facing developing Islamist insurgency
Northern Mali was taken over by Islamist fighters, some with hyperlinks to Al Qaeda, for most of 2012.
They were driven out by a French-led military operation a year later, but violence has continued and spread into formerly secure locations in the south.
Three Islamist militant groups — Al-Mourabitoun, an Al Qaeda affiliate led by notorious 1-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Massina Liberation Front (MLF) — claimed final week’s attack on the Radisson Blu hotel that killed Russian and Chinese nationals as nicely as an American, amongst other individuals.
Security analysts mentioned the groups could be collaborating.
Some analysts have mentioned the spike in jihadist attacks has been developed to disrupt the implementation of a peace deal signed among numerous northern armed groups and Mali’s government in June.
“I want to reiterate that these attacks will not impede the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people and the peace procedure,” UN special envoy for the Mali mission, Mongi Hamdi, said.
A French soldier, element of the 3,500 Barkhane anti-terrorism force operating across the Sahel, and a UN peacekeeper were killed by landmines this week.
Germany stated it was willing to send up to 650 soldiers to bolster the UN force, which has however to attain its complete strength of 12,680 guys.
Other West African states are also battling Islamist militants.
Boko Haram, the leading such group in the region, has this year extended its attacks from Nigeria to neighbouring states of Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Topics: government-and-politics, unrest-conflict-and-war, mali