BAMAKO, Mali (AA) - Five Chadian UN peacekeepers were killed and three others were seriously injured when unidentified gunmen ambushed them in Mali’s northern Kidal region Wednesday, the UN said on Thursday.
The UN Mission in Mali, also known as MINUSMA, said in a statement that an explosive device first struck a UN peacekeeping convoy, which subsequently came under attack by gunfire.
The attack took place 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) north of Aguelhok in Kidal region.
Koen Davidse, interim head of the UN mission, "strongly condemned this despicable attack on peacekeepers in Mali,” the statement said.
Since the beginning of the year, gunmen have attacked UN peacekeeping mission in Mali’s Kidal region over a dozen times, killing 12 staff.
Violence started in Mali in 2012 when armed groups launched attacks against government forces for the independence of the Azawad region in the northern part of the country.
Insurgents are still very active despite the presence of UN and French forces.
The MINUSMA was deployed in Mali in July 2013; it has over 11,700 peacekeepers in the West African state.