6 UN Peacekeeping Troops Injured in Mali Blast

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Bamako:  Six UN peacekeeping troops were injured in a blast Sunday in northeastern Mali, where four UN trucks were also torched by gunmen, military sources said.

The soldiers, who hail from Niger, were hurt when their vehicle rolled over an explosive device east of the town of Gao, an officer from the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, told AFP.

Two of the soldiers were in "very serious condition", the officer said.

MINUSMA confirmed the report.

In October, nine UN peacekeepers from Niger, which borders Mali to the east, were killed in an ambush that also took place on the same road east of Gao, between Menaka and Ansongo.

A Malian jihadist close to MUJAO, one of the al-Qaeda-linked militia that controlled northern Mali for nearly a year, claimed responsibility for that attack.

Elsewhere Sunday, armed men intercepted four UN trucks carrying materials north of Gao, another UN source told AFP.

The gunmen ordered the drivers out of their vehicles and then set light to them, the source said.

Three Islamist insurgent groups took advantage of a coup in the capital Bamako to seize most of northern Mali in 2012. They were routed from most urban areas by French forces in January 2013 but they regularly resurface to carry out attacks against the foreign forces that remained in the country for peacekeeping or counterterrorism operations.

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