BAMAKO - Two drivers were shot dead in an attack on a peacekeeping supply convoy in northern Mali, the UN mission said Saturday.

The assailants stopped the convoy some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the main city of Gao and ‘coldly killed two of the drivers’ in the attack Friday, the UN Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, said in a statement, adding that a third person was wounded. The killings come amid continued violent activity by jihadist groups that had previously taken control of northern Mali before being routed by a French-led international intervention that began in 2013.

Moreover, two civilians were killed and nine peacekeepers from Niger were wounded Wednesday in a strike by an Al-Qaeda-linked group on the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Ansongo, in northern Mali. Earlier this month a civilian was killed in Gao by a rocket attack by presumed jihadists the day after two people were killed by gunmen in another strike. Jihadists have also struck farther south, including in Mali’s capital Bamako. A group headed by former al Qaeda fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar has claimed responsibility for a suicide raid on U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali earlier this week as two people were killed in an attack targeting truck convoy.

At least three civilians were killed and nine peacekeepers from Niger were seriously injured in Wednesday’s attack on a U.N. base in the town of Ansongo, around 80 km (50 miles) south of the city of Gao. Mauritanian news website Alakhbar posted an audio statement on Friday claiming the attack on behalf of the armed Islamist group al-Mourabitoun.

‘We, the Mourabitoun group, announce the martyrdom operation that one of our knights, Ibrahim al-Ansari, undertook at the headquarters of the Nigerien forces,’ stated the low-quality recording. The authenticity of the recording could not be verified, but Alakhbar is often sent statements by Islamist militants in Mali.

Al-Mourabitoun was formed by the veteran Algerian jihadist Belmokhtar, who is a target of French forces hunting down al-Qaeda-linked militants in West Africa.

The group has also said it was behind an attack on a restaurant in Mali’s capital Bamako last month that killed five people including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer. The recording said the Ansongo bombing was carried out in reprisal for Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou’s participation in a march in Paris following the jihadist attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in January.

It also condemned Issoufou for allowing the militaries of France and the United States to base forces in Niger. Neither Mali’s U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA nor Niger’s government immediately responded to the al-Mourabitoun statement. Meanwhile gunmen attacked a truck convoy operated by a civilian supplier to MINUSMA late on Friday around 15 kilometres (10 miles) west of Gao, MINUSMA said.

‘After stopping the convoy, the attackers shot the drivers in cold blood before setting the trucks on fire,’ read a statement released on Saturday. The United Nations has deployed some 10,000 personnel in Mali, which saw its desert north overrun by al Qaeda-linked Islamists in 2012. A French-led intervention succeeded in pushing them out of major cities and towns a year later, but there remain pockets of insurgents who launch attacks on U.N., French and Malian forces as well as civilians.