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Ban Ki-moon UN leader appoints new head of struggling Mali mission

In November, militants attacked a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and killed 19 people, including many foreigners. Earlier this month, rockets hit a U.N. base in Kidal, killing three people.

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media ahead of the U.N. General Debate at U.N. headquarters in New York September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson play United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media ahead of the U.N. General Debate at U.N. headquarters in New York September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (Reuters)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named a new special representative in Mali where the peacekeeping mission has struggled to help implement a peace deal amid a surge in violence by Islamist militants.

Ban named Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the former foreign minister of Chad, to head the 10,000-strong MINUSMA force, which has suffered the highest rate of losses of any active peacekeeping mission, according to a statement.

He replaces Mongi Hamdi of Tunisia, who will complete his assignment next month.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda seized Mali's desert north in 2012. They were scattered by a French military intervention the following year, but fighters have stepped up attacks this year, hitting targets beyond their traditional northern bases.

In November, militants attacked a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and killed 19 people, including many foreigners. Earlier this month, rockets hit a U.N. base in Kidal, killing three people.

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