BAMAKO (Reuters) – The United Nations mission in Mali said on Friday that four peacekeepers were killed and several others injured in an attack on their base in the northern city of Aguelhok. Peacekeepers repelled the attack, carried out by several “heavily armed terrorists,” a UN mission statement said. Islamist insurgents are active in northern Mali. “A provisional toll shows four members of the peacekeepers killed and wounded. Helicopters were dispatched to the scene to evacuate the wounded,” the statement said. About 20 out of 100 attackers were killed in the assault, which lasted about three hours, a UN spokeswoman said. “The attack started with mortar fire, followed by a car bomb attempt and then a direct attack,” the spokeswoman said. The UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, has deployed more than 13,000 troops to contain the violence of armed groups in the north and center of the country. It has recorded around 230 deaths since 2013, making it the deadliest of the more than a dozen UN peacekeeping missions. Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State have intensified activity in the Sahel region of Africa in recent years, displacing thousands. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack. In a separate attack on a military post in central Mali on Friday, three Malian soldiers were killed and 17 wounded, six seriously, the army said in a statement read on the state broadcaster. The air force destroyed four heavily armed enemy vehicles, the army said, killing 10 attackers.
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