MALI: Fighters disguised as peacekeepers attack UN base

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Seven UN peacekeepers have been killed in attacks in Mali this year alone, serving in a mission that has been described as the UN's most risky.

The statement said some of the jihadists wore peacekeepers' uniforms and explosive belts and used vehicles covered up with United Nations and Malian army codes.

The militants attacked the base in the city of Timbuktu with the help of mortars and bomb cars.

Saturday's attack in the northern town of Timbuktu left one United Nations peacekeeper from Burkina Faso dead, and more than a dozen others, including French soldiers deployed separately in Mali, injured. "One blue helmet was killed in the exchange of fire".

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Some of the assailants, who have yet to be identified, came disguised as peacekeepers to sow confusion among troops trying to repel the attack.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the U.N.'s peacekeeping chief, said on Twitter: "Our determination to support peace in Mali remains unshakeable".

French military spokesman Patrik Steiger said the attackers had "failed in their objective of causing the maximum damage possible".

"Around 15 (attackers) were killed", he added, some of them outside the military camp's outer walls. One of the vehicles exploded, while the other was intercepted by troops.

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The French military said there had been three vehicle bombs.

It made no mention of casualties but said the situation was "under control". More than a dozen of Timbuktu's holy shrines, built in the 15th and 16th centuries when the city was revered as a centre of Islamic learning, were razed by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012.

The UN chief stated that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under global law.

In August 2017 armed men launched another assault on the camp, which hosts MINUSMA contingents from numerous countries. Seven security force members and six attackers were killed, according to the UN.

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