Second UN peacekeeper dies following attack in Mali’s northern Timbuktu region
Jun 12, 2023, 3:19 PM
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A second U.N. peacekeeper has died from injuries sustained during an attack in Mali’s northern Timbuktu region, an area where extremists continue to operate, the United Nations announced Monday.
The attack Friday on a security patrol that was hit first by an improvised explosive device and then by direct small arms fire seven kilometers (four miles) from their base in the town of Ber killed one peacekeeper and seriously injured eight others, all from Burkina Faso.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that Private First Class Bouma Bamouni, 28, passed away on Friday while First Lieutenant Ali Barro, who died on Sunday, would have turned 33 next month. Both joined the peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, on Oct. 11, 2022 “where they served with professionalism, contributing to our efforts to restore peace and security in Mali,” he said.
Barro was the tenth U.N. peacekeeper to die in Mali this year.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Security Council condemned the attack and called on Mali’s transitional authorities to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, noting that attacks on U.N. peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.
Mali has been ruled by a military junta since a 2020 coup against an elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. It has faced destabilizing attacks by armed extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group since 2013.
In 2021, France and its European partners engaged in the fight against extremists in Mali’s north withdrew from the country after the junta brought in mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group.