A jihadist group led by al Qaeda-linked Mokhtar Belmokhtar has claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide attack on the United Nations in Mali, in a recording released on Friday by Mauritanian news agency Alakhbar.
Two civilians were killed and nine peacekeepers from Niger wounded when a militant set off explosives as he attempted to drive into a camp used by the UN's MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Ansongo, in the northern region of Gao, on Wednesday.
The Al-Murabitoun group said in an Arabic-language audio message that it had targeted Niger nationals because of the participation of President Mahamadou Issoufou in the Paris demonstration against the jihadist attack on satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo in January.
The group said that the suicide bombing, was also an act of revenge for Niger allowing American and French troops on its soil.
Al-Murabitoun had claimed responsibility for the March 7 attack on a Bamako nightclub frequented by Westerners that left a Frenchman and a Belgian dead, as well as three Malians.
It described Wednesday's assault as "the second operation to avenge insults against the Prophet", referring to Charlie Hebdo's cartoon depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Mali's government said that a civilian MINUSMA worker and a child died in the attack, adding that the suicide bomber was also killed and 21 people, including the peacekeepers, were wounded.
Alakhbar regularly publishes statements said to be from al Qaeda-linked jihadists, which are never denied.