Two United Nations peacekeepers were killed and five others severely wounded by an improvised explosive device in northern Mali, the UN peacekeeping mission said.
The incident took place between the village of Tessalit and the city of Gao on Tuesday, Olivier Salgado, spokesman for United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said in a tweet.
Insecurity has grown in the West African country since armed groups who took root in its arid north a decade ago escalated attacks and seized territory. Last month, 132 civilians were killed in the villages of Diallassagou, Diaweli and Dessagou, in Mali’s central Mopti region.
The rebels, some with links to al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group, have gained momentum despite the presence of foreign troops and UN peacekeepers. France, which previously deployed troops there for years with barely any improvements in security, has withdrawn them amidst a row with Mali, its former colony.
The conflict has killed thousands and displaced millions across the Sahel region south of the Sahara.