United Nations
United Nations

Five UN peacekeepers were killed in an ambush in central Mali earlier Sunday, with another blue helmet seriously injured, according to preliminary information reported by the UN mission in the West African country.

United Nations
United Nations
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) also deplored the “heinous act of terrorism.” The fact that it occurred on the day set aside for the global community to honor UN peacekeepers makes the attack all the more shocking.

According to a press statement from the UN Mission, ambush occurred at about 11:00 a.m. local time near the town of Sevare in the central Mali.

The mission expressed its condolences to the families of victims, as well as to the government and people of Mali, and wished a speedy recovery to the injured peacekeeper.

“I condemn in the strongest terms this despicable crime in addition to other terrorist acts that targeted our peacekeepers, which constitute crimes against humanity under international law,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the special representative of the UN secretary-general and head of MINUSMA.

“This heinous act of terrorism is even more shocking (as) it was perpetrated there during International Day of Peacekeepers,” Annadif, referring to the annual May 29 commemoration.

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2003 to pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Meanwhile, Annadif urged that every effort be made to identify those responsible for these heinous crimes against friendly forces of Mali and the Malian Armed Forces, five of whom were also killed on May 27.

He also stressed that the MINUSMA is more committed than ever to pursuing its mission in support of Mali and its people.

MINUSMA was established by the UN Security Council on April 25, 2013. Under the relevant Security Council resolution, the UN mission is mandated to support the political process in the West African country and carry out a number of security-related stabilization tasks, with a focus on major population centers and lines of communication and protecting civilians.

Since a military coup struck Mali in March 2012, its northern region has served as a stronghold of the rebels.

Mali is now in the process of restoring democracy with the help of the United Nations and African regional bodies, including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Despite initial security improvements in 2013, the situation in northern Mali has deteriorated since the beginning of 2014. An increase in incidents involving improvised explosive devices, mostly targeting Malian and international security forces, has impeded the return to normalcy and resumption of economic and development activities. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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