May 20, 2015 / 2:23 PM / 3 years ago

Gunman attacks U.N. vehicles, residence in Mali capital

BAMAKO (Reuters) - An unidentified gunman on Wednesday shot at United Nations vehicles in Mali’s capital Bamako and targeted a house where U.N. staff were staying, wounding a guard, the world body said.

The attack was the first on U.N. staff or buildings in the southern capital, though the Mali mission has been hit by numerous rocket attacks and bombings in the desert north since it deployed in mid-2013.

The U.N. mission, known as MINUSMA, said the shooting erupted after the attacker tried to torch U.N. vehicles parked outside a residence for U.N. troops.

“MINUSMA would like to reiterate that Malian authorities are responsible for the security of U.N. personnel, especially in Bamako,” the mission said in a statement.

At least 35 U.N. peacekeepers have been killed and over 150 others injured since the mission was deployed to Mali, which is struggling to stamp control on the north, occupied by separatist rebels and Islamist militants.

Many southern Malians are frustrated that peacekeepers have not done enough to help its weak security forces clear the array of gunmen out of the northern desert zone, where national security forces are barely present.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people protested in the northern rebel stronghold of Kidal on Wednesday, complaining against the U.N. mission blocking rebel moves to reclaim control of the town of Menaka, recently lost in fighting with pro-Bamako militia.

Reporting by Adama Diarra and Souleyemane Ag Anara; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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