Mali: Dozens killed in clashes between Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) and Gatia group before UN helicopter crash
A group of former separatist rebels in Mali killed “dozens” of members of a pro-government armed group before a UN helicopter monitoring the fighting crashed in the country’s north, sources told AFP Thursday.
The UN has confirmed two German crew members belonging to its MINUSMA peacekeeping mission were killed while observing the area near the city of Gao following the clashes.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said Thursday the helicopter “was conducting surveillance over Tabankort in the aftermath of violent clashes between the signatory armed groups,” when it came down in an apparent accident.
German army Vice Admiral Joachim Georg Ruehle said on Wednesday night the helicopter crew did not issue any distress calls and there were no firm indications as to the cause of the crash.
The clashes pitted former rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) against the Gatia pro-government group.