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UN slams deadly attack on peacekeepers in Mali
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon and the UN Security Council on Saturday strongly condemned a deadly attack in Mali, which killed two Senegalese peacekeepers and injured at least seven others and four Malian troops.
"The secretary-general condemns in the strongest terms the bombing attack at the Banque malienne de solidarite in Kidal, taking the lives of two United Nations peacekeepers and injuring at least seven other peacekeepers and four Malian National Guards, " said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.
"All those responsible for this criminal act must be brought to justice," the statement said, adding that, "The secretary-general encourages all Malians to reject violence and support the peace process, including through their participation in Sunday's second round of legislative elections."
The two UN peacekeepers were killed in a car bomb blast in the northeast Malian town of Kidal, a stronghold of separatist Tuareg rebels, who said they were ending a cease-fire two weeks ago.
The blast hit a bank guarded by the peacekeepers and set fire to a UN armored vehicle, reports said. There was no immediate claim for the attack which happened early Saturday morning.
The secretary-general extended his deepest sympathies to the families of the two peacekeepers who lost their lives, and his sincere wishes for the full and speedy recovery of those injured, said the statement.
Ban also expressed his condolences to the government and people of Senegal at this tragic loss of their compatriots serving the international community and the cause of peace, said the statement.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council also condemned "in the strongest terms the attack by unidentified armed assailants" on the UN peacekeeping force in Mali (MINUSMA), said a statement released by the 15-member body within hours of the attack.
The Security Council "reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed," the statement said.
Mali had witnessed a military coup, renewed fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the seizure of its northern territory by radical Islamists since early 2012. The West African country is now in the process of restoring democracy with the help of the United Nations and African regional bodies, including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
On April 25, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to approve a 12,600-strong MINUSMA to take over from the African-led mission in Mali on July 1 and authorized the blue helmets "to use all necessary means" to carry out security-related stabilization tasks, protect civilians, UN staff and cultural artifacts, and facilitate humanitarian aid.
MINUSMA's core task is to support the political process in Mali, in close coordination with the African Union and the ECOWAS, said the resolution.
[Source: Xinhua, United Nations, 14Dec13]
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