UN: 5 Peacekeepers Killed, 3 Wounded in Mali Blast

The United Nations mission in Mali said five of its Chadian peacekeepers were killed and another three wounded when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device in the north of the country on Thursday.

The attack brings the number of U.N. peacekeepers killed in the country this month to 10.

“This incident follows many other attacks in the Kidal region in which too many U.N. peacekeepers have been killed or wounded,” the U.N. mission said in a statement.

The mission, known as MINUSMA, said the blast happened between the desert towns of Aguelhok and Tessalit, in the Kidal region.

MINUSMA was deployed last year to help stabilize the West African nation following a triple-pronged crisis which began with a Tuareg separatist uprising, followed by a military coup in the southern capital and a nine-month occupation in the north by al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants.

The militants were chased out by a French-led intervention, but pockets of insurgents remain in Mali’s vast desert north from where they have launched attacks on Malian and French troops and the U.N. peacekeepers. 

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