The United Nations said unknown attackers fired rockets at a U.N. peacekeeping base in Kidal in northern Mali on Saturday, killing three people inside, in the latest sign that the West African country’s Islamist insurgency is intensifying.
French troops and the 10,000-strong U.N. force are struggling to stabilize the former French colony where Islamist militants attacked a hotel in the capital on Nov. 20 and killed 20 people, in their bloodiest attack yet in the country’s south.
Desert-based jihadists regularly launch rockets and missiles at northern U.N. bases, especially around full moon when the lighter nights make it easier to target the camps, although it is rare for the missiles to land inside the camp.
“They fired rockets from around 4am inside the MINUSMA camp,” Olivier Salgado, Deputy Chief of Communication in the peacekeeping mission, told Reuters.
“We have three dead and four seriously injured,” he said, adding that there were a total of 20 wounded and that medical evacuations were underway.
He did not name the victims’ nationalities although a U.N. source said two were peacekeepers from neighboring Guinea.
A witness said that bursts of gunfire were heard shortly after the rockets landed as well as mortar fire coming from inside the camp.
A security source in north Mali who wished to remain anonymous said the Kidal camp had received a warning two days before the attack from an unnamed jihadist group. A local deputy for Kidal Ahmoudene Ag Ikmasse also blamed radical Islamists.
Northern Mali was taken over by Islamist fighters, some…