peacekeepers die in an explosion in central Mali

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Seven United Nations peacekeepers were killed on Wednesday when a logistics convoy struck an explosive device in central Mali, the UN mission MINUSMA said.

“The initial figure is seven dead and three seriously injured,” he said on Twitter, without detailing the nationality of the victims.

The incident occurred in the Bandiagara area in the Mopti region, as the convoy was heading to Sevare from Douentza, he said.

On Monday, a MINUSMA soldier died from wounds inflicted by a roadside bomb near the northern town of Tessalet on November 22.

He had been rushed for treatment to the Senegalese capital of Dakar with two other wounded soldiers.

Mali is the epicenter of a jihadist insurgency that began in the north of the country in 2012 and spread three years later to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Thousands of people throughout the region have died and around two million have been displaced.

The attacks have been carried out by militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group, but many civilian casualties have also been caused by so-called self-defense forces.

MINUSMA, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, began its deployment in the troubled state of the Sahel in 2013.

It has 16,500 personnel, including 10,700 personnel, according to its website.

The UN says the mission has suffered the most deaths of all its peacekeeping operations in the world, with hostile acts causing 146 deaths as of October 31.

(AFP)