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Unidentified gunman kills two UN peacekeepers in Mali

The UN peacekeeping mission says four others were injured in the attack carried out by an unidentified gunman on Friday.

An unidentified gunman shot and killed two officers from the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali while they were on patrol near the city of Timbuktu, according to the mission’s chief, El-Ghassim Wane.

“I condemn this heinous act and wish a speedy recovery to the four other injured peacekeepers,” Wane tweeted on Friday.

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) “strongly condemned” the deadly attack.

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“A United Nations police patrol was attacked on December 16 in Timbuktu. [northern Mali]. Two of our policemen, including a woman, lost their lives and four others were injured, one seriously,” MINUSMA said in a tweet.

Mali has been grappling with an armed rebellion since 2012. Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

MINUSMA’s peacekeeping future is in doubt as violence rages across the center, north and east of the African nation.

Mali saw two military coups in one year between 2020 and 2021.

There have also been rising tensions between the UN mission and Mali’s military rulers following the alleged arrival of fighters from Russia’s Wagner Group to bolster government forces.

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Germany said Thursday that its forces will remain in Mali within the MINUSMA deployment until 2024 only if the military government allows them to operate freely and elections are held.

Germany has around 1,100 soldiers in Mali, according to Berlin. It is the seventh country that has decided in recent months to stop or suspend its participation in the UN mission.

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Last month, the UK and the Ivory Coast announced their withdrawal from MINUSMA, one of the UN’s largest operations.

France this year withdrew troops from its former colony, deployed separately under its Barkhane mission in the Sahel. The force had helped provide air support to MINUSMA.

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