At least 15 peacekeepers have been injured in a car bomb attack in the northern part of the country just a day after they set up a temporary base in the area.
In a tweet, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Mali announced that some soldiers suffered severe injuries and have been evacuated for treatment while investigations have been launched to determine which group could be responsible for the attack.
A translated version of the tweet, which was done in French, read, “A MINUSMA Force temporary operational base near the village of Ichagara, in Tarkint commune, #Gao region was the target of a vehicle bomb attack. As a result, 15 #Blue helmets [peacekeepers] were injured. Their evacuation is in progress.”
The identities of the 15 wounded soldiers have not been disclosed, but a German member of parliament has confirmed to AFP that 12 of the soldiers are German nationals who have been stationed in the country.
In a locality in Gao, the base was in Tarkint, which sources have described as a hotspot for jihadists who had established their roots during the 2012 chaos in the country that led to so many deaths and left thousands internally displaced.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, fingers are being pointed at ISIS-linked groups who operate along the northern border with Burkina Faso, responsible for a good number of attacks in the region.
The northern region is also rocked by communal violence between herdsmen and farmers who have also formed violent groups that constantly launch attacks against each other, as it was in 2019 and early 2020, where a series of violent incidents were recorded in Gao.
In late May, President Emmanuel Macron of France threatened to pull out France’s remaining 5,000 troops in the northern region in protest of the second coup by Colonel Assimi Goita. Still, the transitional military government rather welcomed the news, warning France not to interfere in their internal affairs.
The country is currently under ECOWAS and AU sanctions for the coup.