Several peacekeepers from the UN mission in Mali, currently in the process of withdrawing from the country, were “seriously injured” on Wednesday when their convoy fell victim to an improvised explosive device, a UN spokesman said, APA reports citing Arab News.
On Tuesday, peacekeepers from the mission, known as Minusma, left their camp in Kidal in a long convoy of dozens of vehicles bound for Gao, a major northern city some 350 kilometers (220 miles) away.
“Today, we were just informed that the convoy hit an improvised explosive device,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters at the United Nations in New York.
Preliminary information indicates that “several peacekeepers were seriously injured,” he added. Minusma later said on its X (formerly Twitter) account that eight peacekeepers had been wounded, all of whom were evacuated to Gao.
“Today’s attack follows two similar incidents yesterday in which two peacekeepers experienced minor injuries” and were treated on site, Dujarric said.
The convoy was the last to leave Kidal for the Minusma base in Gao, “under extremely difficult security conditions.”
The convoy was thus “forced to depart without any air support due to a lack of flight authorization by the Malian authorities, which of course has increased the threat to the safety of our peacekeepers as they travel hundreds of kilometers in very unsafe territories,” Dujarric said, calling again for Bamako’s “full cooperation” in the Minusma withdrawal.