World

2 peacekeepers killed in attack in central Mali

Two Sri Lankan peacekeepers were killed Friday after their convoy struck an explosive device in the central Mopti region, according to a spokesperson for the UN mission in Mali.

Sri Lankan soldiers die after UN convoy struck an explosive device

Canadian soldiers stationed in restive Mali, such as the one shown here on Dec. 22 in Gao, are among the thousands of forces currently carrying out one of the UN's deadliest peacekeeping missions. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Two Sri Lankan peacekeepers were killed Friday after their convoy struck an explosive device in the central Mopti region, according to a spokesperson for the UN mission in Mali.

Myriam Dessables said the blast occurred early Friday in the Douentza area. She said several other people were wounded, including one critically.

Canadian peacekeepers were not injured in the explosion, but were dispatched aboard three helicopters to provide medical support, according to a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence. It was the seventh medical evacuation Canadians have performed since arriving in Mali last summer.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but it is similar to others by extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda that have increased activities in the Mopti region.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, which includes up to 250 Canadian flight crew, medics and support personnel, is one of its deadliest. Friday's blast comes after an attack in the northern Kidal region on Sunday killed 10 Chadian peacekeepers and wounded 25 others.

Canadian peacekeepers were among those who scrambled on an evacuation mission after the attack. The operation was by far the largest the Canadians have performed since arriving in northern Mali last summer.

More than 100 peacekeepers have died since the mission in Mali began in 2013.

With files from The Canadian Press

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