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MINUSMA victim in Timbuktu of a complex terrorist attack. French people affected (V3)

(B2) A peacekeeper was killed and around ten others injured this Saturday (April 14) in the afternoon, during an attack on the camp of the United Nations force in Mali (MINUSMA) in Timbuktu which a also affected seven French people from Barkhane, the French base being co-located in the airport area. The results, which remained unclear, are now known.

night patrol (credit: Minusma / B2 Archives)

A complex attack

The attack was very important " and " complex » confirmed MINUSMA, in a press release, with first mortar fire, weapons fire and the use of suicide vehicles. There " situation is now under control » specified MINUSMA in the evening. The attack lasted more than three hours if we rely on the times communicated by the Malian Ministry of Security: the attack took place around 15 p.m. (17 p.m. Paris time) and ended around 18:30 p.m. (20:30 p.m. from Paris).

Three vehicle bombs

The attack was particularly studied. Three vehicles (and not just two as initially mentioned) presented themselves at the gates of the UN camp, one bearing the colors of the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA), the other the UN des Nations acronym. United. Some of the occupants wore blue helmet uniforms. " This attack aimed to take control of this camp and cause the most damage.. “Vehicles were booby-trapped, to blow them up” with the aim of creating a breach in the enclosure “says one on the French side. " The first vehicle bomb exploded while the second carrier could be immobilized ” completes the Malian Ministry of Security.

An important aftershock: 15 terrorists on the mat

The soldiers of MINUSMA and those of the Barkhane force have " repelled attacks inside the compound, neutralizing the attackers » specifies the French General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMA) in a communicated posted on his facebook page. In all " 15 terrorists were put out of action ". Some of the attackers (at least two) wore explosive belts. Reinforcement resources were immediately deployed from Gao and Niamey.

Reinforcements from Niamey and Gao

We had to use great means: a Mirage 2000 patrol” for show of strength and have pictures of the area, "a Tiger helicopter patrol and commandos deployed by NH90 transport helicopter and tactical airlifter » we specify to the EMA. The commitment of Barkhane’s resources made it possible “ firstly to secure the airport to allow the evacuation of the injured " then, " with MINUSMA, to regain control ". " The situation on April 15 morning is stabilized ". Several of the attackers reportedly vanished into thin air.

Barkhane and Minusma camps reached: twenty injured

The exact number of victims was initially uncertain for several hours. The French authorities leave doubt. The Malian Ministry of Security was the first to mention French wounded, around ten on Barkhane's side; 1 dead, 12 injured and five seriously injured on MINUSMA side. Contacted by B2, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, the army general staff initially did not wish to confirm or deny this information, preferring to allow time to confirm the information (1). Swedish soldiers, also based in Timbuktu (at the Nobel Minusma camp), clearly indicated (via Twitter) that they had not been affected. In the end, the toll was 1 dead and 10 injured among the peacekeepers and " 7 French soldiers injured », were evacuated to Gao, and taken care of in particular the role 2 hospital of the French forces (which has a surgical platform).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) The French army does not generally give a precise assessment until it has all the facts (there may also be dual nationalities), that the wounded are not 'conditioned' and their condition known, as well as the families notified, if applicable.

NB: the situation in northern and central Mali remains very tense. And the MINUSMA loses a heavy tribute to the maintenance of peace (more than 100 dead in the ranks of blue helmets). Read also:

Paper completed on 14.4 in the night (with assessment from the Malian ministry) and 15.4 in the morning with the first French response, and on 15.4 at the end of the afternoon with the more concrete elements (French assessment, nature of the response, assessment on the attackers)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).