Four UN peacekeepers were killed and four were wounded on Wednesday when a mine exploded under their vehicle in central Mali in a deliberate attack, the UN mission in the country said.
Jihadists have ramped up their activities in central Mali in recent months, targeting domestic and foreign forces in violence once confined to the restive north.
“The provisional death toll stands at four peacekeepers dead following the explosion of a mine or IED against a MINUSMA vehicle on the Boni-Douentza road,” a statement issued by the mission said, using its acronym.
“Four more peacekeepers are seriously wounded and their medical evacuation is underway,” it added.
Mission chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif learnt with “consternation” of the attack, which took place around 2pm (1400 GMT) in the Mopti region, it added.
“MINUSMA is currently upgrading its security presence in central Mali,” Annadif said. “Cornered, the terrorists are multiplying their attacks.”
The mission, which counts almost 11,000 peacekeepers, has been deployed in Mali since 2013 to counter a jihadist insurgency and general lawlessness.
It is known as the world’s riskiest peacekeeping deployment in active service, per capita.
Six Malian soldiers were killed on Tuesday when their vehicle struck a mine, the army said on Wednesday, and a forest ranger was gunned down on the same day.