In a statement released on Friday, Stéphane Dujarric said that in addition to the deaths of male and female peacekeepers in the city of Timbuktu earlier in the day, four other UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeepers were injured.
Possible war crime
Attacks on UN peacekeepers could “constitute war crimes under international law,” the statement said.
The UN chief called on the Malian authorities to “spare no effort to identify and swiftly bring to justice the perpetrators of these heinous attacks”.
He offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved, the government and the people of Nigeria and wished those injured a speedy recovery.
“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations’ continued support and solidarity with the people of Mali,” said Mr. Dujarric.
Appeal to the interim government
At the same time, the Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack “in the strongest terms” and paying tribute to “all peacekeepers who are risking their lives.”
They urged the interim government of Mali, with the support of MINUSMA, to “quickly investigate” the attack and promote accountability by bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The ambassadors reminded Malian officials to keep the troop-contributing country concerned informed of progress made in line with Security Council resolutions on security of peacekeepers (2518) and accountability for any violence against them (2589).
They stressed that involvement in planning, directing, facilitating or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers “constitutes a basis for sanctions.”
UN Photo/Gema Cortes
A member of the search and detection team of the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali examines a street in Menaka, northeast Mali.
Responsibility for the security of UN personnel rests with the host states, the statement said, emphasizing the importance of communication between MINUSMA and the transitional government of Mali.
The Council reaffirmed that terrorism is “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security” and labeled it “criminal and unjustifiable”, regardless of motivation.
They stressed the need to “bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism” and that all states must combat terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.
While reiterating its full support for MINUSMA and other security presences in the Sahel, the Council expresses concern about the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of terrorism in the Sahel.
They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Malian Peace and Reconciliation Agreement “without further delay”.
“Lasting peace and security in the Sahel will not be achieved without a combination of political, security, peace-building and sustainable development efforts that benefit all regions of Mali, and full, effective and inclusive implementation of the agreement,” they said.
UN Photo/Harandane Dicko
Senegalese peacekeepers serving with MINUSMA secure the route their convoy must travel to Ogoussagou to ensure safety for their personnel.
Stand with Mali
The Council also underlined the importance of MINUSMA having the necessary capacity to fulfill its mandate and promote peacekeeping security.
These “heinous acts” will not undermine the peacekeepers’ determination to continue supporting the peace and reconciliation process in Mali, the final statement said.
friends in need
The day before the attacks, a new initiative, the Group of Friends to Promote Accountability for Crimes Against Peacekeepers, was launched at UN headquarters in New York to improve the security of blue helmets.
During the event, the head of peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, recalled that Mali is one of three countries that have accounted for 84 percent of peacekeeping fatalities since 2013.
He also drew attention to four MINUSMA employees from Chad who were killed on October 10 as a result of an improvised explosive device in Tessalit, Kidal region.