February 24, 2021

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20 UN peacekeepers injured in an attack in central Mali

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — An attack on a United Nations base in central Mali has injured at least 20 peacekeepers, the U.N. mission spokesman said Wednesday.

The temporary U.N. base in Kerena, near Douentza, was the target of direct and indirect fire early Wednesday morning, Olivier Salgado said in a statement on Twitter.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and head of the mission there, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, “strongly condemns this cowardly attack on the peacekeepers and has ensured that all measures are taken to ensure that the wounded receive appropriate treatment,” Salgado said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group stage regular attacks on U.N. peacekeepers and soldiers.

Attacks by jihadists in northern Mali this year have also killed at least five U.N. peacekeepers.

The peacekeeping mission has been in Mali since 2013, after Islamic extremists took control of major towns in the north. A French-led military operation dislodged them, but the jihadists have since regrouped in rural areas and expanded their reach.

The U.N. says more than 231 peacekeepers in Mali have been killed due to hostile incidents, in what has become known as its most dangerous mission.