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Three killed in attack on U.N. base in north Mali

Gunmen attacked and fired rockets at a U.N. peacekeeping base in Kidal in northern Mali

Published: Updated:

Two U.N. peacekeepers and a civilian were killed after unknown assailants fired rockets at a U.N. peacekeeping base in Kidal in northern Mali early on Saturday, a U.N. spokesman said.

“They fired rockets from around 4am inside the MINUSMA camp,” said Olivier Salgado, Deputy Chief of Communication in the peacekeeping mission.

“We have three dead and four seriously injured.”

Olivier said: “The attack happened at around 4 a.m. (0400 GMT). Four or five rockets landed inside the base. Quite a few people were wounded but it’s too early for a precise number.”

French troops and the U.N. force are struggling to stabilize the former French colony where militants attacked a hotel in the capital on Nov. 20 and killed 20 people.

Three militant groups - al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), its splinter group al Mourabitoun and Massina Liberation Front (MLF) - claimed the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel. Security analysts say they could be collaborating.

Northern Mali was occupied by militant fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but violence has continued.

Other West African governments are also battling militants. Boko Haram, the leading such group in the region, has this year extended its attacks from Nigeria to neighboring states of Niger, Cameroon and Chad.