U.N. Mali mission struggling in desert north with no peace to keep

February 4, 2015 1:39 PM

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DAKAR/BAMAKO (Reuters) - After U.N. helicopters strafed separatist rebels in northern Mali last month, residents of the region's largest town Gao took to the streets to celebrate the long-awaited burst of action by the peacekeeping mission.

Just days later, a U.N. base in Gao was attacked by crowds hurling stones and petrol bombs, furious at rumours the peacekeepers had signed a secret deal with the rebels. At least three people were killed after U.N. troops opened fire, forcing U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to order an enquiry.

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