In a new blow to the long-running operation, three UN peacekeepers were killed on Tuesday when their convoy hit a roadside bomb in central Mali, which has been torn apart by jihadists.
In a tweet, it reported that “A MINUSMA Force convoy hit an Improvised Explosive Device #IED today,” with a preliminary death toll of three and five seriously injured.
One of the largest but also riskiest UN peacekeeping missions, Mali has more than 13,500 military and police personnel, and it has suffered heavily from IEDs.
In a report released in January, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that since July 2013, 165 peacekeepers have perished and 687 have been injured in hostilities.
Up until the time of the report, the force had counted 548 IED attacks, leading to 103 fatalities and 638 injuries among MINUSMA personnel.
A coup against the elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, took place in August 2020 as a result of resentment among the Malian military over the government’s failure to put an end to the insurgency.
As the country’s ties with France, its longtime ally, deteriorated, the junta forged closer ties with the Kremlin and imported Russian paramilitaries and equipment.
In 2022, France withdrew the final troops it had stationed in Mali as part of its long-standing Barkhane anti-jihadist force in the Sahel.
The junta in Bamako frequently asserts that since it has turned to Russia, it is gaining the upper hand against the jihadists.
After Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, claimed last week that the Malian state was “collapsing” and that the jihadists were gaining ground, the country protested on Monday.
In 2012, the jihadist insurgency and an ethnic Tuareg uprising for self-rule in the country’s north both started.
The jihadists expanded into the country’s center in 2015 after regrouping after France sent troops to quell the uprising.
From there, they launched brutal incursions into Burkina Faso and Niger, two nearby countries.