UN Peacekeepers Targeted: Multiple Incidents in Mali
In a series of troubling incidents, United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in northern Mali have faced heightened dangers as they make their way out of the country due to deteriorating security conditions. The most recent attack occurred when a UN convoy was hit by two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), resulting in the injury of approximately 22 UN troops. This attack is among several incidents that have taken place as peacekeepers withdraw from the region.
Since October 31, when peacekeepers began their journey from northern Kidal to Gao, the situation has become increasingly perilous, with a total of six incidents reported. As a consequence, at least 39 peacekeepers have been injured. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric shared this information, emphasising the severity of the situation.
Convoys Encounter IEDs: Intensifying Danger
On Saturday, during the convoy’s movement near the town of Anefis, two IEDs were encountered. It remains unclear whether these explosive devices had been in place for an extended period or if the peacekeepers were deliberately targeted. The injured peacekeepers were promptly transported by helicopter to Gao for medical treatment.
Growing Concern: Military Rulers Order UN Withdrawal
The interim military rulers in Mali issued a directive in June for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to withdraw from the country. This UN peacekeeping force, consisting of approximately 15,000 troops, is anticipated to complete its withdrawal by December 31, despite the deteriorating security conditions in Mali.
MINUSMA Withdrawal Challenges: Consequences of Departure
As part of the withdrawal process, the final MINUSMA camp in the Kidal region, housing around 850 peacekeepers and 150 other mission personnel, was evacuated. Following MINUSMA’s departure, a coalition of armed factions, primarily led by Tuareg groups, resumed a rebellion against the state and claimed to have gained control of the region.
Ongoing Conflict: MINUSMA’s Struggles
Although MINUSMA was initially established by the United Nations Security Council in 2013 to restore stability to northern Mali, continued violence and conflict have hindered its mission. The peacekeepers face challenges due to the involvement of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, who have been active in Mali since 2021. Moreover, government-imposed constraints and tensions have further complicated the situation for MINUSMA.
Security Council’s Term Nears End: June 30 Deadline
The current term of the United Nations Security Council is set to conclude on June 30, marking a significant milestone in addressing the evolving situation in Mali.