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Beijing urges probe in attack on peacekeepers

Updated: 2016-06-02 02:28
By Mo Jingxi (China Daily)

Beijing is calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into the attack in Mali on Wednesday that killed one United Nations peacekeeper from China and injured four others, the Foreign Ministry said.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that China has sent its deepest condolences and sincere sympathy to the victims and their families, and "China strongly condemns the grave crime, which was aimed at UN peacekeeping personnel."

"We urge the Malian government and the UN to immediately conduct an investigation into the terrorist attack and bring the perpetrators to justice," Hua said.

Al-Qaida's North African branch has claimed responsibility for the attack, the US-based monitoring group SITE said on Wednesday.

"Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb reported that its al-Murabitoun battalion engaged in a clash with 'Crusader occupation forces'," referring to the UN mission in Mali, Agence France-Presse quoted SITE as saying.

Al-Murabitoun, led by one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, has claimed responsibility for several attacks in sub-Saharan Africa.

Soldiers of a UN peacekeeping mission have been stationed in northern Mali for three years, along with French forces, after separatists joined jihadists to seize the region from the government in Bamako, according to Reuters.

Li Wentao, an expert on Africa studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Chinese UN peacekeeping forces in Africa have contributed greatly to ensure local peace and stability.

"It is an inevitable trend that China will continue to contribute to UN peacekeeping in the future as a responsible nation," Li said.

However, it is important for permanent members of the UN Security Council to reach consensus and push forward political settlement of the conflicts in Mali and other African countries, he said.

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