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UN Peacekeeper Dead in Mali

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

A UN peacekeeper was killed by a mine Sunday in restive northern Mali as he was participating in a patrol, the head of the UN's MINUSMA Mali force El Ghassim Wane announced.

BAMAKO - The peacekeeper killed was part of the Guinean contingent in MINUSMA, a MINUSMA official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "He was first wounded and died of his injuries at our hospital in Kidal," the statement added.

The latest death comes amid tense negotiations on the renewal of MINUSMA's mandate.

A total of 175 of its peacekeepers have died in hostile acts.

"Terrible news that adds to the long list of our colleagues who lost their lives during their service in Mali," MINUSMA Mali force chief El Ghassim Wane wrote on Twitter.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are one of the jihadists' weapons of choice against MINUSMA as well as Malian forces. They also regularly kill civilians.

Mali, a poor and landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, underwent military coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

The political crisis has gone hand in hand with a serious security crisis since 2012 and the outbreak of separatist and jihadist insurgencies in the north.

The country is now ruled by a junta that has turned away from France and its partners, and turned to Russia to try to stem the jihadist threat that has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The violence has left thousands of civilians and soldiers dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.