More than 11,000 UN police and military are currently serving in Mali, attempting to guarantee security in lawless swathes of the vast Sahel nation.

 

UN peacekeeper

 

Seven other peacekeepers, also from Togo, were wounded in the attack in the central Mopti region, according to the statement by the UN mission, known by the acronym MINUSMA.

 

After a mine or improvised explosive device was detonated, attackers opened fire on the convoy, the UN said, without identifying the assailants.

 

The attack came the day after a soldier serving with France’s “Barkhane” counter-terror force was killed in a similar incident.

 

He died of his injuries following a mine blast near the northern town of Kidal in an attack claimed by the Islamist group Ansar Dine, which has ties to Al-Qaeda.

 

A MINUSMA spokesman said Malian police would investigate the death of the two civilians following the convoy.

 

Also on Sunday, Ansar Dine claimed the ransacking of an army base in the restive north during which they stole weapons and vehicles as troops fled their positions.

 

The claim of responsibility was issued by Mauritanian news agency al-Akhbar, which regularly carries statements from jihadist groups operating in the Sahel.

 

The jihadists said they had killed “several” Malian soldiers but this was denied by independent sources and military officials contacted by AFP.