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Three wounded as UN convoy triggers landmines in Mali: UN sources

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MALIThree United Nations troops were wounded on Thursday when a convoy including the head of peacekeeping in Mali triggered landmines in the country’s restive north, sources within the force said.

MINUSMA commander Major General Michael Lollesgaard and the mission’s police chief “escaped death on Thursday in the Timbuktu region when mines on the route of their convoy wounded three peacekeepers from Burkina Faso”, a civilian manager in the force told AFP.

Lollesgaard, from Denmark, and police commissioner Abdounasir Awale were on a field visit when a vehicle in their convoy hit at least one mine between the towns of Dire and Ber, a separate MINUSMA source based in Timbuktu told AFP.

The source said it was “very likely” that the mines had been laid just before the convoy arrived, specifically targeting the two commanders, as security checks had been carried out along the route a few hours earlier.

An official statement from MINUSMA placed the explosion at 1:00 pm (1300 GMT), although it made no mention of Lollesgaard or Awale.

“MINUSMA strongly condemns this terrorist act which aimed to paralyse the mission’s operations in this part of Mali,” it said.

“Mines in Mali indiscriminately affect United Nations personnel and innocent civilians.”



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