Last week saw a spate of attacks on UN blue helmets serving as part of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). On January 20, a vicious attack on a MINUSMA peacekeeping base located in the northeastern village of Aguelhok killed ten Chadian peacekeepers and injured at least 25 others. Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam Muslimeen (JNIM), an al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility for the attack, casting it as a response to Chad’s renewal of diplomatic relations with Israel.
On January 24, a Burkinabe peacekeeper was injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack; the next day, two Sri Lankan peacekeepers were killed and six injured when a UN convoy struck an IED in Mali’s central Mopti region. Secretary General António Gutteres has reiterated that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes under international law.”
MINUSMA remains the deadliest ongoing operation for the UN. At least 118 blue helmets have lost their lives thus far.