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UN chief slams deadly attacks on peacekeepers in north Mali

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-29 07:09

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday condemned a deadly attack on United Nations peacekeepers in north Mali earlier in the day, stressing "the urgent need to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice."

"The secretary-general is outraged by the deadly attack against a camp of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Kidal that claimed the lives of two United Nations peacekeepers and one civilian contractor," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.

Gunmen attacked and fired rockets at a UN peacekeeping base in Kidal in northern Mali earlier Saturday, killing two peacekeepers from Guinea and a contractor from Burkina Faso. Twenty other people were wounded, including four seriously.

"MINUSMA has taken immediate steps to assist the wounded and continues to strengthen the safety and security of its personnel," the statement noted.

The secretary-general conveyed his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to the governments of Burkina Faso and Guinea, the statement said, adding that the secretary-general expressed his profound sympathy and support to those wounded and wished them a speedy recovery.

While reiterating that the attacks against the Mission will not impede the world body's determination to support the Malian government and the people of Mali in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability, Ban also stressed the urgent need to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice and reiterated that attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.

Earlier Saturday, the UN Security Council, in a separate statement, "condemned in the strongest terms" the attack and called on "the government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice and stressed that those responsible for the attack should be held accountable."

"The members of the Security Council underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law," the council statement said.

Since a military coup struck Mali in March 2012, its northern region has served as a stronghold of the rebels.

Mali is now in the process of restoring democracy with the help of the United Nations and African regional bodies, including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Despite initial security improvements in 2013, the situation in northern Mali has deteriorated since the beginning of 2014. An increase in incidents involving improvised explosive devices, mostly targeting Malian and international security forces, has impeded the return to normalcy and resumption of economic and development activities.

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