Swedish soldiers in Mali attacked by suicide bomber
Swedish soldiers on patrol for the UN in Mali have been attacked by a suicide bomber. None of the Swedes were injured in the attack that took place on Monday evening.
"The Swedish troops were conducting patrols in the central parts of Timbuktu, and during these patrols a suicide bomber came close to the Swedish unit, and there was a detonation," Major Erik Hopkins, chief of operations for the Swedish troops in Mali told Radio Sweden.
"There were no Swedish injuries, but the perpetrator was killed by his own device," said Hopkins.
An investigation into who the suicide bomber was and what his motives were is currently taking place, and Major Hopkins says it is too early to say whether the Swedes were the target of the attack, and who was behind the attack.
"An incident like this will keep everybody on their toes, however there has been no reaction out of the ordinary and the situation is calm," said Hopkins.
This is the first time that Swedish soldiers in the UN-operation Minusma in Mali are exposed to a suicide attack. The UN is formally in charge of the security in the country since July 2013 shortly after a peace plan was put in place. The aim is to protect civilians, support the rebuilding of the government's control in the country and to support the peace.
There are currently just over 200 Swedish soldiers in Mali, working as part of a multinational intelligence unit. They are based near Timbuktu, some 700 kilometres north of the capital Bamako.