17 UN peacekeepers, 2 civilians hurt in Mali rocket attack

January 9, 2020 GMT

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Suspected Islamic militants launched a rocket attack that wounded 17 U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali, authorities said Thursday.

Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, said the injured peacekeepers are from Chad and that in addition two civilians were hurt in the attack on the camp in Tessalit in Mali’s Kidal region.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, suspicion immediately fell on the Islamic extremists who have long been active in the area, targeting U.N. forces and Malian soldiers.

More than 100 U.N peacekeepers have been killed in Mali since 2013 when the mission began in the aftermath of a French-led military operation to oust Islamic extremists from power in the major towns across northern Mali.