2 Sri Lankan peacekeepers killed in Mali

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United Nations, Jan 26 (IANS) Two Sri Lankan peacekeepers have been killed by an improvised explosive device attack on a UN convoy in Mali.

Six Sri Lankan peacekeepers were also injured in the attack on Friday near Douentza, Mopti region, the UN said.

“Attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law,” said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Guterres “calls on the Malian authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack, so that they can be brought to justice as swiftly as possible”, he added.

Security Council President Jose Singer Weisinger said the Council “condemned in the strongest terms the attack”.

The Security Council expressed its “concern about the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region” and “urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali without further delay”, the spokesperson added.

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There are 207 Sri Lankans serving in the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), one of the most dangerous operations that has seen 189 fatalities.

Ten peacekeepers from Chad were killed on Sunday in a terrorist attack on the mission camp in Aguelhok, in the Kidal region.

A peacekeeper from Burkina Faso was wounded on Thursday in an IED attack against a convoy near Douentza.

UN peacekeeping attributed the high-level of danger in Mali to “a proliferation of armed groups fighting government forces and their allies in the centre and northern areas of Mali following a failed coup six years ago”.

MINUSMA, which was established by the Security Council in 2013, has 15,450 personnel.

A total of 647 Sri Lankans serve in UN peacekeeping opeerations.

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Ten Sri Lankans have died while serving in peacekeeping operations, five of them in the UN operation in Haiti.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

–IANS

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