Seven UN peacekeepers from Togo died and three others were seriously injured when their vehicle caught an improvised explosive device in the Bandiagara region in central Mali on Wednesday morning.
The Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemns this heinous attack, he told correspondents in New York at the regular daily briefing. The peacekeepers were in a convoy travelling from Douentza to Sevare.
Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the UN chief commiserates with families of the victims, as well as to the Government and people of Togo, and wished a full recovery to all affected persons.
“The Secretary-General also calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack so that they can be brought to justice”, Dujarric said.
In a tweet, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, noted that “African peacekeepers come to support a country and a people in their region.”
“These crimes must not go unpunished”, he added.
In another statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali, El-Ghassim Wane, condemned this “cowardly attack” and stressed that it could constitute a war crime under international law.
“This tragedy adds to the gruesome tally of attacks on peacekeepers in Mali,” he said.
Wane, who also acts as the head of the UN Mission in the country (MINUSMA), recalled that the Mission “is the peace operation where peacekeepers have paid the heaviest price, with more than 200 soldiers killed in the war.”
Wane said, this new attack, like all the others, is another reminder of the urgent need for even more sustained efforts to stabilise central Mali.
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