UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says attacks could constitute war crimes and calls on Malian authorities "to spare no effort" in finding those responsible.

FILE PHOTO: Member of the UN forces rides a vehicle patrolling the street, prior to the presidential election, in Bamako, Mali, July 27, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: Member of the UN forces rides a vehicle patrolling the street, prior to the presidential election, in Bamako, Mali, July 27, 2018. (Reuters)

A UN convoy in Mali’s northern Kidal region has been attacked by improvised explosive devices, killing one peacekeeper from Egypt and seriously injuring four others, the United Nations has said.

The attack on the convoy from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali took place near Tessalit, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Malian authorities “to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of these attacks so that they can be brought to justice swiftly,” reiterating that attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, Dujarric said.

Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s support for the government and people of Mali and expressed deep condolences to the family of the Egyptian soldier who was killed and to the government and people of Egypt, and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.

UN existence since 2013

Mali has been trying to contain an extremist insurgency since 2012. Extremist rebels were forced from power in Mali’s northern cities with the help of a 2013 French-led military operation. 

However, the insurgents quickly regrouped in the desert and began launching frequent attacks on the Malian army and its allies fighting the insurgency.

The extremists have expanded their reach well into central Mali, where their presence has inflamed tensions between ethnic groups in the area.

The UN peacekeeping mission has been in Mali since 2013, after extremists took control of major towns in the north. It is the deadliest for peacekeepers.

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Source: AP