A soldier in the Chadian contingent of the UN’s peacekeeping force in northern Mali killed his own commander and an army doctor on Thursday following weeks of tensions over living conditions, UN sources told AFP.
The soldier had started an “insurrection” against the contingent’s top brass the previous evening before shooting the two men dead, said a source within the UN force, known by the acronym MINUSMA.
“Dozens of Chadian peacekeepers have been unhappy with their working conditions in northern Mali,” the MINUSMA source said.
“The peacekeeper decided he wasn’t going to stand for how his superior spoke to him after being accused of some pretty serious things,” the source added.
The man was arrested, along with a dozen other Chadian soldiers accused of “disobedience”, at the contingent’s base north of the city of Kidal.
The 2,000 Chadian soldiers of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) — MINUSMA’s predecessor — were at the forefront of a French-led military intervention launched in January 2013 to oust Islamist rebels who had taken over vast stretches of the north in the chaos following a coup.
Dozens of Chadian troops deserted their posts in a dispute over pay and conditions in recent years, complaining that they hadn’t received a salary for months.
“Everyone knows that the Chadian soldiers are always complaining about their living conditions. But that’s not a reason to shoot your boss,” a local politician told AFP without wanting to be named.
Twenty-nine members of MINUSMA were killed last year and more than 80 were injured, making it the most deadly active mission for the UN.