A United Nations (UN) convoy was attacked on Saturday in a region of northern Mali. Officials from the peacekeeping mission stated that two were killed and another was injured by gunfire. A press release from the United Nations stated the convoy was en route to the town Gao when it stopped, allowing the assailants to attack. The gunmen shot through the vehicles and then set them on fire.
The convoy was heading to Gao to complete the mission, known as MINUSMA, according to the statement. This attack comes just a day after another UN peacekeeping base was attacked near Gao, which killed three people and wounded at least 16 others.
The group that claimed responsibility for the attack is led by Moktar Belmoktar, an Algerian Islamic extremist leader, as stated by the SITE intelligence group. The militant group, known as al-Mourabitoun, or The Sentinels, is a jihad group based in northern Mali, allied with al-Qaida.
Violence has ensued amidst peace talks that are beginning with the governments of Algeria and Mali and other militant groups in the north of the country. The region around Gao was under al-Qaida control up until 2013 when a French-led military operation drove them out.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Alex Proimos – Flickr License