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Published: Tuesday May 13, 2014 MYT 6:15:03 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 13, 2014 MYT 6:16:06 PM

U.N. peacekeepers injured in Mali land mine explosion

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Three United Nations peacekeepers were injured on Tuesday when their vehicle hit a landmine in the northern Malian town of Kidal, a spokesman for the U.N. mission said.

Olivier Salgado said the blast occurred near the U.N. base in Kidal.

The injured peacekeepers are from Senegal and would be flown to Gao, the main base for French military operations in Mali, for treatment, he said.

French troops last year drove al Qaeda-linked Islamists from positions they occupied across northern Mali and U.N. troops have deployed. But the militants have regrouped and are stepping up attacks against international forces.

Thousands of U.N. peacekeepers have been deployed, but the vast northern desert zone remains tense.

A French soldier was killed in the zone last week when an explosive device went off under his vehicle.

France plans to keep 1,000 troops in Mali and another 3,000 elsewhere in the Sahel-Sahara zone as it restructures its forces to tackle Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Adama Diarra; Writing by David Lewis Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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