Al-Qaeda-Linked Militants Claim Attack on UN Camp in North Mali

  • Militants fire rockets at main UN base in city of Gao
  • Surge of attacks killed almost 20 peacekeepers last month

The United Nations mission in Mali deployed attack helicopters after two assaults on UN bases in the northern city of Gao left at least four people dead in an attack claimed by a militant group linked to al-Qaeda.

Al-Mourabitoune, an affiliate of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, said Wednesday it had carried out the assault on what it called the “crusader occupation forces” in the West African nation, according to a statement published by Mauritania’s Al-Akhbar news agency.

A UN soldier was killed and three others seriously injured when militants fired rockets at the main UN military camp in Gao at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, according to an e-mailed statement from the UN. Another UN staff member and two Malian security guards died in a subsequent attack on the UN anti-mining station in the city.

“I’m revolted by these vicious, cowardly and totally unacceptable attacks,” Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the chief of the UN mission in the West African nation, said in the statement.

Last month, Mali saw a surge in deadly attacks by Islamist militants, who have bases in its sparsely populated desert north. Five Chadian peacekeepers died when their convoy detonated an explosive device, while five Togolese troops were killed in an ambush less than two weeks later.

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