At least one UN peacekeeper was killed and four others seriously wounded when their patrol was attacked in northern Mali, the peacekeeping mission the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) announced on Friday.
The attack occurred near the town of Ber, in the region of Tombouctou – an area that has become a hotbed of jihadist activity over the past decade.
MINUSMA tweeted that the patrol first encountered an improvised explosive device and was then hit with a direct-fire attack.
It did not disclose the names of the perpetrators but said it was a “complex attack”, adding that updates on casualties would follow.
Despite international military efforts to support local forces, violence has escalated across and beyond the Sahel region, located beneath the Sahara.
The conflict has led to the death of thousands and displaced over six million people, as reported by the United Nations.
Currently, around 12,000 military personnel are stationed in Mali under the MINUSMA.
Tragically, since the inception of the mission in 2013, at least 303 MINUSMA staff have been killed due to aggressive acts, marking this as the deadliest U.N. peacekeeping mission worldwide.