Terrorists Blow Up Peackeeper Vehicle!
Two Chadian UN peacekeepers and a civilian were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in northern Mali.
Reports say militants ambushed the United Nations checkpoint with heavy arms and car bombs. The five suicide bombers were also reportedly killed on the spot.
The militants retreated in an exchange of gunfire with country’s soldiers.
Chad authorities also confirmed that six of its troops were also wounded.
US Condemns The Attack
In a press statement by Deputy Department Spokesperson Marie Harf, the United States strongly deplored the attack against MINUSMA, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
She notes the terrorist attack was the first such attack since the mission deployed on July 1, 2013.
“We call on the Government of Mali to immediately investigate the incident and hold those responsible to account.” – Ms. Harf
The US expressed its deep condolences to the families of the victims and to the Governments of Chad and Mali.
US Supports Efforts Of MINUSMA
Ms. Harf reiterated that the United States remains fully committed to supporting the efforts of MINUSMA to assist Mali in consolidating peace and security gains, including the Government of Mali’s national reconciliation efforts.
In addtion, the US is deeply concerned about the fragile security situation in the north, where the attack occurred, and where violence in recent weeks has demonstrated the threat still posed to Mali’s stability.
“We call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately.” – Ms. Harf
Islamist Violence Escalating In The Troubled West African Nation
In September, a suicide bombing in Timbuktu claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had killed two civilians and four bombers. Seven Malian soldiers were also wounded.
Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda were driven out of Gao, along with Kidal and Timbuktu, after they occupied all three towns in the wake of a coup in Bamako last year.
Reports say there are 2,000 Chadian soldiers of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA). The mission is at the forefront of the operation.
The surge of rebel attack has reportedly displaced an estimated 500,000 people since the M23 rebels began bringing terror in April last year.
An estimated five million people have lost their lives since 1998, and millions more have been uprooted and displaced due to cycle of violence in DRC.
North and South Kivu provinces in particular have faced repeated cycles of conflict, atrocities, and displacement, with the current crisis simply being the latest iteration.
New UN ‘Offensive’ Brigade to Counter Rebel Groups in Congo
In March, the UN Security Council unanimously approved the first-ever intervention UN peacekeeping brigade to fight rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The 3,000-strong UN brigade was mandated to carry out offensive operations to neutralize or disarm the rebels in the insurgent-hit part of the African country.
According to the UN, surveillance drones will be reportedly used to monitor the country’s borders with neighbours accused of backing rebels particularly Uganda and Rwanda.
M23 rebels and rebel groups from neighboring countries have taken over some parts in eastern Congo in 2012.
In November 2012, M23 rebels took control of the provincial capital of Goma.
UN Security Council Resolution 2098 resolution was sponsored by France, the US and Togo.
The resolution gave the brigade a mandate to operate “in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner” to protect civilians from the threats of the M23 rebels.