UN Blue Helmets Withdraw from Third Camp in Mali

On Thursday, MINUSMA announced the departure of its peacekeepers from the Goundam camp in the Timbuktu region, as part of its commitment to completely withdraw from Mali by the end of the year.

The UN announced on Thursday, August 17, the withdrawal of its peacekeepers from a third camp in Mali, in accordance with its plan to fully exit the Sahel country by December 31, 2023.

“The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) confirms that a convoy carrying peacekeepers and equipment from its camp in the city of Goundam, in the Timbuktu region, as part of the withdrawal process, arrived without incident in the city of Timbuktu on Wednesday,” according to a statement at the UN headquarters in New York.

MINUSMA is implementing the decision made by the UN Security Council at the end of June to immediately end the mission deployed in the country since 2013, at the request of the junta that came to power by force in 2020.

This third withdrawal since early August has been a “complex operation, involving” the departure of Ivorian soldiers, UN police officers, and Bangladeshi personnel, the statement clarifies.

These “peacekeepers supported the protection of the local population, despite regular attacks using improvised explosive devices, in an area with one of the highest levels of insecurity and a strong presence of extremist groups,” the UN emphasizes.

Until December 31.

The Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), an Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadist alliance, claimed responsibility this week for an attack carried out on Sunday in northern Mali, injuring four peacekeepers as they were leaving their camp in Ber.

MINUSMA had announced on August 13 that it had “anticipated,” for security reasons, its withdrawal from the Ber base (north), which the army claims to have regained “after numerous incidents” with “terrorist” groups and despite the desires of the former Tuareg rebellion.

The withdrawal of Burkinabe peacekeepers from Ber was scheduled to take place by the end of the year, following the first departure on August 3 and 4 from Ogossagou (center), which the Malian army says it has control of. MINUSMA’s withdrawal of around 11,600 soldiers and 1,500 police officers from dozens of nationalities and spread across 13 camps is set to take place until December 31.

Since taking control of Mali, the junta has made sovereignty its mantra and has broken its alliance with France and its partners against jihadism, turning instead towards Russia militarily and politically.


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