Rocket attack on UN base in Mali leaves 20 wounded

At least six peacekeepers in serious condition

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 17, 2013 A French gunner sits in a Puma helicopter flying near Tessalit. A French corporal was killed tracking down jihadist fighters in their northern Mali mountain bastions, bringing to five the number of French deaths since Paris launched a military offensive in the country two months ago. Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on March 17, 2013 the 24-year-old soldier was killed and three of his comrades wounded when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb blast in the Ifoghas mountains, without saying when it happened.   Thirteen soldiers from France's anti-terrorist Barkhane force in Mali were killed after two helicopters collided during an operation in the country's north, the French presidency said on November 26, 2019.
The accident occurred on November 25, 2019, while the forces were engaging jihadist fighters who have staged a series of deadly strikes in northern Mali in recent weeks, the Elysee Palace said.

 / AFP / Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD
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At least 18 United Nations peacekeepers were wounded in a rocket attack on a military base in Mali on Thursday.

UN spokesman Olivier Salgado told Reuters that the "preliminary" toll indicated 20 people were wounded in the attack on the military base housing UN, French and Malian forces in the town of Tessalit in the Kidal region in the country’s north. Six peacekeepers from the MINUSMA mission were seriously wounded, he said.

No groups have yet claimed responsibility and Mr Salgado said it remains unclear who carried out the attack. France's military said none of its soldiers were injured, Reuters reported.

Kidal has been under the control of Tuareg rebels since an uprising in 2012, and tensions regularly flare between armed groups and the government.

The MINUSMA mission has over 13,000 troops in Mali to contain violence caused by various armed groups in the north and centre of the country, including militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Some 4,500 French troops operate a separate anti-insurgent mission across West Africa’s arid Sahel region, where militants and ethnic violence is worsening.

It comes a day after the UN's envoy for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas warned the region had experienced “a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets” in recent months.

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