A Nigerian soldier was killed and another compatriot was injured in two attacks on the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, UN officials said on Sunday.
Gunmen attacked the UN troops in Timbuktu in the north of the country, where several groups of militants are active, according to Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
The Nigerian peacekeepers attacked have not been identified.
A further three UN soldiers from Chad were injured in Tessalit in the northern Kidal region near the border with Algeria when their vehicle drove over an explosive device.
The UN chief, Antonio Guterres expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the bereaved family and the Government of Nigeria and “wished a speedy recovery to another Nigerian peacekeeper who was wounded in the same attack”.
He also wished a “swift recovery to three Chadian peacekeepers”, who were wounded when their mine-protected vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Tessalit, Kidal region.
Condemning the violence, Guterres said such attacks on UN soldiers could be considered war crimes under international law.
Mali has experienced sporadic attacks by armed groups since a 2012 coup that helped separatist rebels and groups associated with al-Qaeda gain a foothold in the country’s restive north.
A UN peacekeeping mission has been active in Mali since 2013.
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There have been repeated attacks on the mission in the north of the country by the militants, while ethnic conflicts in the centre flare up regularly
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has condemned in the strongest term, the attacks on the UN Peace Keepers that led to the death of the Nigerian soldier.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this in a statement by its Acting Spokesperson, Friday Akpan, on Sunday in Abuja
”As we await further details on the attacks, the Ministry wishes to express its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and pray that God grant them the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
”While wishing the injured quick recovery, the Ministry also wishes to commiserate with the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Mali on the sad incidence,” it stated.
The ministry reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to continue to support the UN Peace keeping Mission in the fight against insecurity in the continent and beyond.