The attack took place on a road about 45 kilometers southwest of the city of Timbuktu in Mali’s restive northern desert.
Another source within the mission said nine peacekeepers were wounded in the attack, which appeared to have been carried out by militants who were well-informed about the movements of the MINUSMA convoy.
“Those responsible for this ignoble crime must be identified and brought to justice as quickly as possible”, said Mongi Hamdi, MINUSMA head and special representative of theUnited Nations Secretary General.
A French-led military campaign in early 2013 liberated northern Mali from al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels, who had seized control of the area after a Tuareg uprising led to a military coup that plunged Mali into chaos.
The Mauritanian Al-Akhbar news agency, which regularly carries credible claims of responsibility by jihadist groups, reported that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility.
Tuareg armed groups have been fighting for greater autonomy in northern Mali since 2012, taking over much of the region in April of the same year. In recent months, violence has extended farther south.
The commander of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, Danish Maj. Forty-two peacekeepers have been killed in Mali since the mission was established in 2013. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, told the Security Council earlier this month that his force is not geared to operate in an environment where troops face attacks from hostile jihadist groups and others.