Three United Nations (UN) peacekeepers were wounded last Thursday when their vehicle hit a landmine in northern Mali. The peacekeepers were on route from Teherdge to Timbuktu. According to MINUSMA — the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the region — Danish Major General Michael Lollesgaard and police commissioner Awale Abdounasir, from Djibouti, were traveling in the convoy but escaped the blast without injuries.
Speaking to VICE News Friday, MINUSMA spokeswoman Radhia Achouri confirmed the two UN officials had been part of the convoy, but described the suggestion that the attack had specifically targeted UN chiefs as “speculation”:
“Both generals were indeed present. They were traveling to a MINUSMA camp that came under mortar attack three days earlier. But we have no reason to believe they were targeted … [Insurgents had used] the same modus operandi: a landmine placed in the path of a convoy.”
– MINUSMA spokeswoman Radhia Achouri
The UN launched the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in April 2013, in an attempt to stabilize the country in the wake of the Tuareg separatist insurgency in northern Mali. According to official figures, 35 UN peacekeepers have been killed while on duty since the start of the operation. Many of the deaths have been the direct result of landmines. An additional 135 peacekeepers have been seriously wounded, and the mission is considered to be the deadliest for the UN since its intervention in Somalia, between 1992 and 1995.
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