00:42 GMT29 July 2021
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    Last Sunday, militants attacked a UN base in the city of Timbuktu in Mali with car bombs and rockets, killing one UN peacekeeper and injuring seven others.

    A source in the Malian army told Sputnik that several French servicemen got injured in clashes after militants attacked the northern city of Timbuktu, Mali. The source added that those wounded had been evacuated by helicopter.

    Earlier in the day, Reuters reported, citing locals and a source close to the UN, that several loud blasts had been heard in Timbuktu near military bases where the United Nations' blue helmets and French troops are present.

    READ MORE: Two UN Troops Killed, Dozen Hurt in Mali Attack

    This is already the second attack in a week, as on April 15, the UN camp was targeted by militants with car bombs and rockets. As a result one UN peacekeeper died and seven others were wounded. The terrorist assault prompted an anti-militant operation by Mali’s military in the north of the African country; one soldier died in clashes with terrorists.

    Over the past years, Mali has been suffering from a surge in violence, as jihadist groups exploit rebels from nomadic Tuareg tribes, in order to gain control over the northern part of the country, which remains mostly lawless due to separatist activities. In 2012, a Tuareg insurgency against the government triggered France, Mali's former colonizer, to intervene at the request of the country's authorities. France's Operation Serval forced most of the rebels out, however, jihadists are still active in the northern territories, which are out of the control of the Malian government or French and UN forces.

    Currently, French servicemen are present in Mali as part of the ongoing anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane, which started in 2014.

    The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has about 12,000 peacekeepers and was established by UN Security Council resolution 2100 on April 25, 2013, alongside France's Operation Serval. The mission's aim is to stabilize the country and protect civilians from jihadists active in the region.


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