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breaking news Mali: 6 soldiers killed, 15 peacekeepers wounded in two separate attacks

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Mali had another bloody day on Friday with two attacks, one against a military post in the center, which left six dead, and the other against a temporary UN position in the north, which left 15 injured .

The attack on a military post in the village of Boni (center) left six soldiers dead and one wounded. Ten Malian soldiers had already been killed in February in the same village.

The troops “vigorously repelled” “simultaneous attacks” carried out in this village on Friday afternoon, the Malian Armed Forces said on their Facebook page.

Earlier today, 15 United Nations peacekeepers, mostly German, were injured in the north of the country in a suicide vehicle attack on a temporary position.

Three of the 12 German peacekeepers affected are seriously injured, said German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Two of them are in stable condition while the third has been operated on. All the injured were evacuated from the area by helicopter, she added.

A plane is expected overnight in Gao, the nearby large city, to take the most seriously injured on Saturday morning.

A Belgian soldier was also injured, the Belgian Defense Ministry reported. He received first aid on site before being transported to a hospital.

The UN Mission in Mali (Minusma) reported fifteen injured in the early vehicle bomb attack on a temporary base near the village of Ichagara.

Minusma had established a position there since Thursday, the time to secure a towing operation of a mission vehicle, said a spokesperson for the mission. The vehicle to be towed was damaged Thursday by the explosion of a homemade explosive device.

The machine had exploded when a convoy of Minusma passed by, escorting the deployment of a so-called “reconstituted” battalion of the Malian army, that is to say integrating former rebels who fought the regular forces in the north before the signing of a peace agreement in 2015, said an international security source.

Target of attacks

Since 2012 and the outbreak of independence and jihadist rebellions in the north, Mali has been plunged into a multifaceted turmoil that has left thousands dead, civilians and combatants, despite the support of the international community and the intervention of forces from the UN, African and French.

The separatists signed a peace agreement in 2015. But Mali remains plagued by the actions of groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization, intercommunal violence and trafficking of all kinds. The violence has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The Minusma, with around 18,300 people, including 13,200 soldiers, is regularly the target of attacks, like the Malian and French forces. It is the deadliest UN mission in the world.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned “today’s vile attack (which) once again underscores how important it is that we stand up against terrorists”.

France, which deplores the deaths of 50 soldiers in the region since 2013, “condemns the attack in the strongest terms (…), reaffirms its full support for Minusma, which plays an essential role in the stabilization of Mali “And” welcomes the commitment of the countries which contribute to it “, also declared the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After more than eight years of engagement, President Emmanuel Macron announced in June a future reduction of the French military presence in the Sahel, with the closure of bases and a re-articulation of the anti-jihadist struggle around an international alliance involving Europeans.

“France remains with all of its partners in the Sahel to fight against the scourge of terrorism,” however insisted the Quai d’Orsay.

It had previously suspended its joint operations with the Malian forces following a new coup by the military, the second in nine months, making Colonel Assimi Goïta the transitional president.

The French engagement in Mali regularly gives rise to hostile expressions or demonstrations, generally limited and often coupled with calls for Russian intervention.

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