Malian soldiers stand around the debris left after a jihadist suicide bomber blew himself up at a Malian army checkpoint near the airport in Timbuktu, Mali March 21, 2013. (AP Photo)
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Four United Nations peacekeepers were killed Tuesday when their truck was blown up in Mali, security sources told AFP, casting a shadow over the restart of peace talks between the west African state and rebel militias.Riven by ethnic rivalries, a Tuareg rebellion and an Islamist insurgency in its vast desert north, Mali has struggled for stability and peace since a military coup in 2012 .Paris recently wound up Operation Serval, its military offensive launched in January 2013 to oust Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who had occupied northern Mali.French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said around 3,000 French soldiers will be part of the operation, 1,000 of whom will stay in northern Mali.
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