10 U.N. peacekeepers killed in Mali terrorist attack

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the "complex attack" against MINUSMA, stating that the perpetrators may have committed a war crime.

By Darryl Coote and Daniel Uria

Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Ten U.N. peacekeepers died in a suspected al-Qaida-linked terrorist attack upon a U.N. mission in Mali.

At least 25 others were also injured in the attack, the United Nations said in a media release, adding that the peacekeepers were Chadian nationals.


On Sunday, an unknown number of terrorists attacked a base belonging to the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali located in Aguelhok in the northern part of the West African country, the peacekeeping mission said.

The attack, however, was controlled by MINUSMA forces who "responded robustly," the United Nations said, adding that several of the attackers were killed.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the "complex attack" against MINUSMA in a statement issued by a spokesperson.

"The Secretary-General calls on the Malian authorities, as well as the signatory armed groups to the peace agreement, to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack so that they can be brought to justice as swiftly as possible," the statement said.

Guterres also said the attack against the U.N. peacekeepers may be considered a war crime, a statement reiterated by members of the U.N. Security Council in a media release of their own that condemned the attack "in the strongest terms."


The mission added that those injured were evacuated to MINUSMA hospitals.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali Mahamat Saleh Annadif said: "This complex and cowardly attack illustrates the terrorists' determination to sow chaos; it demands a robust, immediate and concerted response from all forces to wipe out the danger of terrorism in the Sahel."

"In close cooperation with its partners, MINUSMA will remain proactive and will not let this barbarity go unpunished," he said.

Guterres said he wishes for the "swift recovery to the injured" and he pays tribute to "the dedication and courage of the men and women serving in MINUSMA."

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the northern African branch of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility, BBC News reported.

MINUSMA is one of the most dangerous peace operations in the United Nations' history, with 155 peacekeepers killed in Mali since it was established there in April 2013, the U.N. mission said.

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