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10 UN peacekeepers wounded in Mali with vehicle hitting mine

UNITED NATIONS, July 11 (Xinhua) — Ten UN peacekeepers were wounded when their vehicle hit a mine on Thursday in northern Mali, while the country has been witnessing rising inter-communal violence, a UN spokesman said.

“The UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reports that one of its mine-protected vehicles hit a mine early this (Thursday) morning during an operation outside Kidal city in northern Mali,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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“Preliminary reports indicate that 10 peacekeepers on board were wounded, including four seriously,” Haq said. “They are currently receiving required medical care. The mission is investigating the incident and continues to monitor developments.”

The incident occurred while increasing inter-communal violence has struck the North African country, where nearly 600 people have been killed in the first half of this year, the spokesman said, noting the violence has created unprecedented humanitarian needs.

There are 70,000 people now displaced in the central region, up from 18,000 in 2018, he said. The number of displaced people has more than tripled in a year across Mali, reaching 147,800 people.

Some 3.8 million people are food insecure across the country including over 548,000 who are severely food insecure and require immediate assistance, Haq said, adding 1.4 million people are in urgent need of health assistance and 1.3 million people are in need of clean water.

Children are also paying a high price, the spokesman said, noting that more than 920 schools are closed, affecting the right to education of more than 285,000 children.

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