On Wednesday morning, seven UN peacekeepers from Togo died and three others were seriously injured when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the Bandiagara region in central Mali.
The peacekeepers were part of a convoy travelling from Douentza to Sevare, informed the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. António Guterres strongly condemns this heinous attack, he told correspondents in New York at the regular daily briefing.
Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the UN chief offered his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government and people of Togo, and wished a full recovery to all those who were injured.
“The Secretary-General also calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack so that they can be brought to justice”, Mr. Dujarric said.
In a tweet, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, noted that “African peacekeepers come to support a country and a people in their region.”
“These crimes must not go unpunished”, he added.
In another statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali, El-Ghassim Wane, condemned this “cowardly attack” and stressed that it could constitute a war crime under international law.
“This tragedy adds to the gruesome tally of attacks on peacekeepers in Mali,” he said.
Mr. Wane, who also acts as the head of the UN Mission in the country (MINUSMA), recalled that the Mission “is the peace operation where peacekeepers have paid the heaviest price, with more than 200 soldiers killed in the war.”
Since the start of 2021, dozens of attacks against MINUSMA personnel involving improvised explosive devices have been recorded.
According to Mr. Wane, this new attack, like all the others, is another reminder of the urgent need for even more sustained efforts to stabilize central Mali.
Also on Wednesday, the Spokesperson confirmed that a peacekeeper from Egypt died on Monday in the hospital after succumbing to injuries he suffered during an attack in northern Mali.
The peacekeeper was seriously injured on November 22 after the vehicle he was in, as part of a logistics convoy from Tessalit to Kidal, struck an improvised explosive device, about 11 km away from the MINUSMA camp in Tessalit.
He was then evacuated to Dakar with two other peacekeepers to receive appropriate treatment.