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Five U.N. soldiers killed in central Mali attack

File photo: A UN soldier in Mali

Five United Nations peacekeepers were killed and one other seriously injured in an ambush in central Mali on Sunday, the United Nations said.

A convoy of soldiers in the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was attacked 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Sevaré, the U.N. said.

The nationalities of the soldiers were not released and so far no group had taken responsibility for the attack.

It comes 10 days after five MINUSMA peacekeepers from Chad were killed in an ambush in the northern region of Kidal. Two days ago five Malian soldiers were killed near the town of Gao.

“I condemn in the strongest terms this despicable crime,” said MINUSMA head Mahamat Saleh Annadif, adding that it constituted “crimes against humanity under international law”.

MINUSMA and French forces have been stationed in northern Mali for three years since separatists joined jihadists to seize the region from the government in Bamako.

The militants have staged a series of high profile attacks in the past year, mainly in the north of the country, but also in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

A peace accord signed last year was meant to bring stability to the region, but attacks against the U.N. mission, Malian military and civilians are still frequent.

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Reuters News Service