8 killed in attack on UN peacekeepers in Mali

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At least eight United Nations peacekeepers from Chad have been killed by gunmen in Mali.

'The peacekeepers managed to neutralize some attackers and a prosecution was initiated against those who fled, ' Myriam Dessables, spokeswoman for U.N mission in Mali, said.

Peacekeepers "responded robustly and a number of assailants were killed", the statement said.

According to Guterres, the peacekeepers were from Chad, and he conveyed "his heartfelt condolences to the government of Chad and the families and loved ones of the deceased".

The peacekeeping mission in Mali, which includes up to 250 Canadian flight crew, medics and support personnel, is one of the UN's deadliest. In August 2017, five MINUSMA security guards, one member of the Mali National Police and one civilian contractor working for MINUSMA were killed during an attack on MINUSMA headquarters in Timbuktu. Twenty-one others were injured, including a civilian contractor working for MINUSMA.

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In October 2014, nine troops of a Nigerian contingent were killed in the northeast.

A 2015 peace deal signed by Mali's government and separatist groups failed to end the violence.

Large swathes of northern Mali were seized by jihadists in 2012 until they were pushed back in a French-led military operation the following year.

Islamists have also staged assaults on high-profile targets in the capital, Bamako, and in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

On January 16, France threatened to push for more targeted sanctions to be imposed on Mali after hearing a United Nations official report on worsening violence in the West African country.

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