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Militants attack UN as Mali hunts jihadist nightclub killers

Update: March, 09/2015 - 08:55

BAMAKO — A peacekeeper and two children died on Sunday as militants shelled a UN base in northern Mali, heightening security fears as police hunted jihadists who launched a deadly Bamako nightclub assault.

The UN's MINUSMA force said more than 30 rockets were fired at its barracks in the rebel stronghold of Kidal from 5:40am.

"Once they had established from where the rockets were being fired, MINUSMA troops immediately returned fire two kilometres from the compound, at around 6:00 am," the force said in a statement.

"According to preliminary reports, one MINUSMA soldier died and eight others were injured. The shelling also claimed victims among the citizens of Kidal outside the compound, killing two and injuring four."

The force said in an update on Twitter that the civilian victims – members of the nomadic Arab Kunta tribe – were children and that only three had been wounded.

Their encampment near the UN base was hit by stray rockets as the attack got under way, a MINUSMA source said.

Sources inside the force also said the peacekeeper, like the majority of personnel at the base, was Chadian.

The UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the "heinous" assault and warned that "those responsible for the attack shall be held accountable" while calling on the Malian government to investigate.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the "intolerable" killings, calling them a "breach of international humanitarian law." "MINUSMA strongly condemns these heinous terrorist acts, whose only goal is to thwart all the efforts currently under way to achieve lasting peace in Mali," the force said. — AFP

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