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Mali: Deadly Attacks on UN, Red Cross Missions

FILE- In this file photo taken on July 16, 2016 shows a soldier of the United Nations mission to Mali MINUSMA standing guard near a UN vehicle after it drove over an explosive device near Kidal, northern Mali.

A UN logistics convoy was ambushed by suspected terrorists, killing one Jordanian peacekeeper and wounding three other UN "MINUSMA" members - the fifth tragic incident in the northern Kidal region in a week. Meanwhile, an attack in western Mali Wednesday killed two Red Cross workers.

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) says this attack was the fifth incident in the northern Kidal region in one week.

The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and sent his deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers and the government and people of Jordan, Dujarric tweeted.

Guterres said in his statement the attack "may constitute war crimes under international law." He urged the Malian authorities to make every effort to identify the attackers so that they can be brought to justice as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, in another deadly attack in Mali, two Red Cross employees were killed Wednesday after their vehicle was attacked in the western Kayes region, the Malian Red Cross said in a statement.

A driver and a worker from the Netherlands Red Cross died when their vehicle, displaying the Malian Red Cross emblem, was hit by gunfire by armed men on motorcycles who shot at them. Two other Malian Red Cross people were also there, but unhurt.

"The Malian Red Cross condemns in the strongest terms this incident, which undermines the humanitarian mission to vulnerable populations," it said.

Mali has struggled to contain an Islamic extremist insurgency since 2012. With the support of a French-led military campaign, extremist rebels were ousted from power in Mali's northern towns, but they regrouped in the desert and resumed assaulting the Malian army and its allies. Attacks on civilians and United Nations forces in the northern and central regions have exacerbated insecurity.

Malian President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita, who had died in January, was deposed in August 2020 in a coup led by Assimi Goita, then an army colonel. After carrying out his second coup in nine months, Goita was inaugurated in as president of a transitional government last June.

While Mali's junta initially agreed to an 18-month transition back to civilian rule, it failed to organize elections by the deadline in February. Last month, the government said it would need two more years in power before it could organize a vote.

The U.N. force has said more than 250 of its peacekeepers and personnel have died since 2013, making Mali the deadliest of the U.N.'s dozen peacekeeping missions worldwide.

MINUSMA leader El-Ghassim Wane issued a statement saying "I am very saddened. This incident is a tragic reminder of the difficult operating environment & the sacrifices made by us,"