Beijing: Probe attack on peacekeepers

Updated: 2016-06-03 00:32

By MO JINGXI in Beijing and BIAN JIBU in New York(China Daily USA)

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Beijing is calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into the attack in Mali on Wednesday that killed one United Nations peacekeeper from China and injured four others, the Foreign Ministry said.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that China has sent its deepest condolences and sincere sympathy to the victims and their families, and "China strongly condemns the grave crime, which was aimed at UN peacekeeping personnel."

"We urge the Malian government and the UN to immediately conduct an investigation into the terrorist attack and bring the perpetrators to justice," Hua said.

Al-Qaida's North African branch has claimed responsibility for the attack, the US-based monitoring group SITE said on Wednesday.

"Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb reported that its al-Murabitoun battalion engaged in a clash with 'Crusader occupation forces'," referring to the UN mission in Mali, Agence France-Presse reported.

Al-Murabitoun, led by one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, has claimed responsibility for several attacks in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday "condemned in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack against the camp of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The 15-nation UN body said in a statement that members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victim, as well as to the government of China and to MINUSMA.

The attack took place at about 8:45 pm (local time) on Tuesday when the MINUSMA camp in the Water Tower neighborhood of Gao, North Mali was the target of an attack by mortars or rockets, which also left four other Chinese peacekeepers injured.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was "outraged" by the terrorist attacks and urged the Government of Mali to expeditiously investigate.

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