In Mali Second peacekeeper dies as UN admits failings

Two other cases of "sexual exploitation" and abuse have been lodged against its staff since the beginning of the year.

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An armoured personnel carrier of The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is parked in Timbuktu on September 19, 2016 play

An armoured personnel carrier of The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is parked in Timbuktu on September 19, 2016

(AFP/File)
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The UN said Tuesday a second peacekeeper had died following an attack on a base in northeastern Mali, as it admitted serious failings in its most dangerous ongoing mission.

More than 11,000 UN police and military are currently serving in Mali, attempting to guarantee security in lawless swathes of the vast Sahel nation.

"Following the attacks yesterday on the MINUSMA camp in Aguelhok, we regret to inform you that a second peacekeeper died overnight from his injuries," said a UN statement, referring to the mission using its acronym.

A peacekeeper from Chad was killed and eight others injured on Monday in the attack near the Algerian border, the 27th attack on the force and the 13th peacekeeper killed since May 31, according to the UN.

The announcement coincided with the scheduled publication Tuesday of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's latest report on the crisis facing the Mali mission.

It said MINUSMA had been responsible for the death of a detainee arrested over terrorism offences and two cases of torture in the last four months.

Ban said that an investigation had been launched and vowed "corrective measures".

Two other cases of "sexual exploitation" and abuse have been lodged against its staff since the beginning of the year.

Attacks against the UN force and Malian security forces were "increasingly frequent, bold and well coordinated," Ban said, while only a third of the expected financing for humanitarian projects in 2016 had been received.

The UN's World Food Programme said last week that school meals for nearly 180,000 children in about 1,000 schools were in jeopardy, in a country where one meal a day was a major incentive for parents to send their children to school.

Continued equipment shortages -- particularly a lack of helicopters -- could mean that the mission would be "handicapped in carrying out its mandate, and the confidence that the signatory parties and the population have in the mission will suffer," the secretary-general said.

Peace deal threatened

Ban also emphasised that while some progress had been made to secure the troubled peace process that began last year, developments in the country's troubled north had been limited.

Bloody clashes between pro-government armed groups and former rebels were a violation of a peace accord, and those fighting around the Kidal region should potentially face sanctions, he added.

Mali last year concluded a peace deal between the government, its armed proxies, and Tuareg-led rebels who have launched several uprisings since the 1960s. The deal's implementation has been patchy.

There was "no government presence in the regions of Kidal and Taoudenni" for security reasons, Ban said. and a limited presence in other northern areas affected by fighting.

Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda in early 2012 -- briefly backed by Tuareg-led rebels -- throwing the country into chaos.

An ongoing international military intervention that began in January 2013 has driven Islamist fighters away from the major urban centres they had briefly controlled, but large tracts of Mali are still not controlled by domestic or foreign troops.

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