France calls on Mali to act for peace as UN troops killed

A Minusma vehicle in Timbuktu
A Minusma vehicle in Timbuktu AFP
2 min

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday called on Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to take political action to establish peace in the north of the country, as a UN soldier and two civilians were killed in an attack on a convoy. A French soldier was killed on Friday in the north, Le Drian confirmed.


 "I stress regularly to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita that he must take the necessary initiatives to ensure the integration of the people of the north into the Malian community," Le Drian told Europe 1 radio on Sunday.

As well as military action, political initiatives are needed to ensure Mali's security, he said.

An attack on a UN convoy in Douentza, in the centre of Mali, killed a Togolese UN peacekeeper and injured seven, three of them seriously, according to the UN's Minusma mission.

Two Malian civilians were also killed.Armed men attacked a Malian army camp near Timbuktu, the main city in the north, on Sunday.

The Islamist Ansar Dine movement claimed responsibility.

French intervention defended

A French soldier was killed by an explosive device in the north on Friday, Le Drian confirmed.

Keïta called an emergency defence meeting on Sunday evening and instructed security forces to take more mobile positions in several parts of the country, especially the north.

The minister defended France's 2013 intervention in the country, claiming that, without it, "there would be a terrorist state besides Mosul and Raqqa [in Iraq], a terrorist state in Africa".

Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was in Mali on Sunday to discuss the possibility of Canadian troops joining the UN's peacekeeping force.

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