Strong condemnation has greeted the killing of nine UN peacekeepers from Niger by assailants on motorbikes in northeastern Mali.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said in a statement he was “outraged” by Friday’s attack, which he described as “a serious violation of international law”.
An officer from Niger with the MINUSMA mission told AFP news agency the ambush had been staged by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an al-Qaeda-linked group behind numerous attacks in the West African nation.
“This is the deadliest attack against the UN mission in Mali,” a statement from MINUSMA said, adding that aircraft had been deployed to secure the area.
The deaths mark the first losses suffered by Niger’s 600-strong force, deployed to Mali in January last year.
The ambush brought to 30 the number of deaths in the MINUSMA mission since its deployment in July last year.
Read more at Al-Jazeera