A fusion of three Malian jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links, posted a statement on its Telegram channel saying it had targeted the UN base “with a set of mortar shells”.

Some soldiers wounded while causing significant material damage in Kidal in Mali’s troubled north.

The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said earlier on Friday their Kidal camp “came under heavy rocket/mortar fire” and “a little later a position nearby was attacked” outside their base, killing three peacekeepers and wounding eight more. 

The Group to Support Islam and Muslims, also known as Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen in Arabic, is a fusion of three Malian jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links formed in March. 

Led by the Malian jihadist Iyad Ag Ghaly, a former leader of the Ansar Dine Islamists, the group has claimed multiple attacks on domestic and foreign forces since its formation. 

The UN mission said it “condemned in the strongest terms these cowardly attacks against its personnel and the danger they cause for the civilian population.” The attack is just the latest to target the 12,000-strong force in the west African nation.

Guinean and Chadian soldiers make up the majority of troops stationed at the Kidal camp.