Mali Helicopter Crash Kills UN Peacekeepers

Two Dutch peacekeepers have died after a UN helicopter, operated by Dutch forces, crashed in northern Mali, near the town of Gao, the Dutch defense ministry confirmed.

A Dutch UN helicopter has crashed near Gao in northern Mali, killing two crew members, the Dutch defence ministry has said.

A commander of the UN force in Mali told Associated Press the crew of the Apache had performed a forced landing, but he did not know why.

He added that the helicopter had not been attacked.

The aircraft is from the UN’s MINUSMA mission, charged with peacekeeping operations in Mali.

MINUSMA has about 11,000 personnel on the ground in the country.

The mission took over security duties from France in 2013 after France had intervened to stop an Islamist insurgency a year earlier.

The Dutch defence ministry named the dead men as 30-year-old Capt Rene Zeetsen and 26-year-old 1st Lt Ernst Mollinger, adding that the families had been informed.

MINUSMA has suffered regular attacks from militants: earlier this month, a rocket attack on a UN base in northern Mali killed three people.

Categories: Africa, World

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