Three United Nations peacekeepers were killed and several others severely wounded by a roadside bomb in central Mali on Tuesday, according to the U.N.
The bomb struck a supply convoy near the village of Songobia, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali said in a statement.
“I strongly condemn this attack and present my heartfelt condolences to the families and brothers in arms of the late blue helmets,” El-Ghassim Wane, the head of the mission known as MINUSMA, said.
The incident illustrates the complex environment in which the peacekeepers are working, he said.
Jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group has wracked Mali for a decade and left thousands of people dead. The war-torn West African country is one of the world's most dangerous places with a peacekeeping mission.
For the ninth consecutive year, Mali had the most peacekeepers killed while deployed there, the U.N. reported in January. Including the peacekeepers Tuesday, 168 have been killed in the country since 2013, according to the U.N.
Since Mali's military seized power in two coups starting in 2020, a junta led by Col. Assimi Goita has had tense relations with the international community and constrained the mission's ability to operate.
Countries such as Benin, Germany, Sweden, Ivory Coast, and the United Kingdom have announced troop withdrawals, according to the International Crisis Group.
An internal review of the mission in January called it one of the most difficult operating environments for peacekeeping and said restrictions imposed by the junta have exposed personnel to security risks. The loss of participating countries will put the mission under additional pressure, as it will lose more than 2,250 troops, the report said.