U.N. Condemns Killing of Chadian Peacekeeper in Mali
A U.N. peacekeeper from Chad was killed and four others injured when their vehicle struck a landmine in northern Mali on Sunday, officials said.
The killing brought swift condemnation from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and in a UN Security Council declaration.
"We lost one person when our vehicle encountered a mine near Aguelhoc. There are also some injured," a Chadian soldier from the global body's MINUSMA peacekeeping force told AFP.
A Malian military source based in the main northern town of Gao accused militants active in the area of using landmines as a fighting tactic.
"They have a whole supply line of mines and they find out which roads the MINUSMA vehicles use," the source added.
U.N. chief Ban condemned the deadly attack, which his spokesman said left four other peacekeepers injured.
"These attacks will not alter the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people in their search for peace," Ban's spokesman stressed.
In a unanimous declaration, the U.N. Security Council also condemned the attack "in the strongest terms," and called for a prompt investigation.
The statement said the council members offered their "full support" to MINUSMA and French forces that support it.
"The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice and stressed that those responsible for the attack shall be held accountable," it added.
"The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts."
Four U.N. peacekeepers from Chad were killed on September 2 when their truck was blown up in the same northern desert region near Kidal.
Three jihadist groups -- al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) -- took control of much of the desert north of the west African country in 2012, including the three main towns of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.
They were ousted from the towns and forced back into desert hideouts by a French military intervention launched in January 2013. But sporadic attacks continue.