Mali: UN peacekeeper killed, 5 others seriously wounded

File: The UN mission in Mali is one of the most dangerous peacekeeping operations in the world [File: Moustapha Diallo/Reuters]

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BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The United Nations says a peacekeeper from Chad was killed and five other peacekeepers were seriously wounded in a pair of attacks in Mali.

The peacekeeper was killed and four colleagues wounded on Sunday when their convoy struck an explosive device in Aguelhok in the northern region of Kidal, U.N. spokesman Olivier Salgado said Monday.

File: United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali

A peacekeeper from Togo was severely wounded in a separate attack when unidentified gunmen assaulted a temporary U.N. operating base in Bandiagara in Mali’s increasingly troubled central region.

No one has claimed responsibility for either attack. Extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group are active in the West African nation.

The peacekeeping force in Mali is one of the deadliest in U.N. history, with more than 200 forces killed as of the end of August.

Mali is struggling to implement a 2015 peace deal while extremists who have exploited the country’s unrest expand their reach from the arid north into the more heavily populated central region. 

Their presence there has stoked animosity and deadly violence between ethnic groups amid suspicions of supporting the jihadists.

The country’s turmoil began when mutinous soldiers overthrew Mali’s president in 2012. Extremists quickly exploited the power vacuum, leading to a French-led military effort that ousted the jihadists from power in 2013.

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