Two Belgian soldiers currently serving in Mali were injured when their vehicle drove over a makeshift explosive, Belgium’s defence minister said.
Both soldiers were hospitalised in Gao a town near the border with Nigeria, located some 1,000 kilometres east of Bamako, and their condition has reportedly become stable.
The incident took place on Wednesday at around 10:00 AM, Foreign Affairs and Defence Minister Philippe Goffin said on Twitter.
A statement shared by Goffin said that an improvised explosive device (IED) had exploded when the army men’s vehicle had driven over it, and that a third soldier had also been taken to the hospital for a checkup.
“With the investigation ongoing, no further information will be given on the subject,” the statement read.
Éprouvante première journée de l’An neuf pour nos soldats au #Mali. Avec le Ministre de la Défense, nous suivons la situation de près. Mon infinie gratitude à celles et ceux qui, sur le terrain, assurent notre sécurité et défendent nos libertés au quotidien. #Sahelhttps://t.co/uSuhuvGRzk
“Trying first day of the year for our soldiers in Mali,” Interim Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said. “With the Ministry of Defence, we are closely following the situation.”
The injured men were part of a contingent of 90 Belgian soldiers deployed to Mali as part of the United Nations MINUSMA mission, which aims to stabilise the region following an insurgent movement for independence in 2012.
Additionally, ten Belgian soldiers are also currently deployed in Mali as part of an EU-led training mission for the Malian army.