Three U.N. peacekeepers were killed and 30 others injured in an attack on their base by suspected Islamic militants in the northern Malian town of Kidal Friday. The attack took place following a suicide car bomb blast and involved gunfire and mortar rounds, Radouane Ag Mohamed Aly, a spokesman for the separatist Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), told Reuters.
A U.N. spokesman reportedly said that there had been eight mortar shells as well as gunfire at the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) camp. MINUSMA personnel are deployed to keep the peace in Mali following a takeover of the north by Islamic fighters in 2012, which was thwarted by a French-led intervention force.
Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of U.N. Secretary-General for Mali, said Friday that MINUSMA was "outraged" by the deadly attack against its camp in Kidal.
"This serious act reflects the disarray of the enemies of peace since it comes at a time when the implementation of the Peace Agreement increasingly becomes a reality in Mali,” Annadif said, in a statement.
There have been several attacks across Mali in recent months, with a deadly attack in November 2015 where gunmen killed 22 people in an attack at the Radisson Blu hotel in capital Bamako. Several terrorist groups claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Malian chief prosecutor said in January that Al-Mourabitoun — led by veteran Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar—was likely behind the assault.
Earlier this month, unknown assailants attacked a U.N. police base in the Malian city of Timbuktu. Attackers reportedly entered the U.N. camp and detonated their vehicle. Simultaneously, a Malian army checkpoint in the Kabara neighborhood near the airport was also attacked by gunmen.