Two Egyptian peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were killed and five, also Egyptians, were seriously wounded Tuesday in a mine explosion in the north of the country plagued by jihadist violence, the United Nations announced.
« This morning, an armored vehicle of a MINUSMA logistics convoy hit a mine on the Tessalit-Gao road, » the organization said in a statement. The death of the two Egyptian peacekeepers occurred about 60 kilometers from Gao. « A rapid intervention force was sent to the scene and the injured were evacuated, » the same source added.
In a statement in New York, the 15 members of the UN Security Council « condemned in the strongest terms the attack » of Tuesday. They called on the « transitional government of Malito promptly investigate the attack on the peacekeepers and bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as to keep the troop-contributing country informed of progress, » their statement added.
The Council also threatened sanctions against all those directly or indirectly involved in attacks against peacekeepers, recalling that they « may constitute war crimes under international law.
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are one of the jihadists’ weapons of choice against MINUSMA and Malian forces. With some 13,000 troops, MINUSMA – created in 2013 to support the Malian political process – is the UN peacekeeping mission with the highest casualty rate.
The Security Council on June 29 extended its mission for another year. A total of 177 of its peacekeepers have died in hostile acts, including ten since January. Eight peacekeepers were injured by a mine in the Timbuktu region on June 23.