Unidentified gunmen attacked the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping force in the northern Mali city of Timbuktu on Monday, killing seven people and injuring seven others in what the U.N. peacekeeping chief called a “terrorist attack.”
Earlier Monday, gunmen attacked two neighbouring U.N. camps in Douentza in the Mopti region of central Mali, killing a Malian soldier and a U.N. peacekeeper and lightly wounding another peacekeeper. The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, also called that incident a “terrorist attack.”
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali is the deadliest of the U.N.’s 16 global peacekeeping operations, and this was one of the worst losses of mission employees.
In the Timbuktu attack, the mission said five Malian security guards and a Malian contractor working for the mission were killed along with a member of the Malian gendarmerie. It said six U.N. peacekeepers were wounded, two seriously, along with one Malian security guard.
The mission, known as MINUSMA, said it dispatched a quick reaction force and attack helicopters to secure the Timbuktu headquarters. It said U.N. troops killed six assailants.
In Douentza, MINUSMA said a group of attackers fired on a U.N. camp from an adjacent hill and Malian troops returned fire. Another armed group shot at peacekeepers in a neighbouring camp who also returned fire, the mission said. The U.N. mission said two attackers were killed in the exchanges.
Annadif, the MINUSMA commander, called for those responsible for “these terrorist attacks” to be arrested and brought to justice.