The United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) said that at least six UN soldiers were killed and five others were heavily wounded on Thursday in northern Mali in a convoy attack by armed groups.
According to the sources, the attack was carried out on a highway some 45 km southwest of the city of Timbuktu on the road to Goundam at around 9am local time.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed the responsibility for the attack and said seven soldiers were killed and four MINUSMA vehicles destroyed, according to Mauritanian news agency al Akhbar.
The UN said that all of the dead and wounded came from MINUSMA’s groups from Burkina Faso.
“Those responsible for this ignoble crime must be identified and brought to justice as quickly as possible,’’ said Mongi Hamdi, head of MINUSMA.
The fight between the armed groups in northern Mali started in 2012 for independence or greater autonomy.
On June 20, the government of Mali and Tuareg-led northern armed groups signed a peace deal to withdraw from the northern town of Menaka and end their uprising.
Tuareg forces, Mali’s biggest rebel organization, had taken control of the region by April 2012.
Since 1962, Tuareg group has launched four uprisings, fighting the army over the territory they claim as their homeland and call Azawad.
MINUSMA started mission in Mali in April 2013.
According to United Nations, 42 peacekeepers have been killed, including 10 so far this year and 166 others have been wounded.