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Blue Helmets leave Mali in haste and under threat

Sean Kilpatrick Archives The Canadian Press MINUSMA is pushed towards the exit after the junta in control since 2020 in Mali called for its withdrawal in June, proclaiming the “failure” of the mission and denouncing the “instrumentalization” it allegedly made of the question of human rights.

The UN mission pushed out of Mali is forced by the actions of the junta in power to hasten its departure and sabotage the equipment left behind, before risking the lives of its peacekeepers on the road for lack of authorization to vol.

MINUSMA is pushed towards the exit after the junta in control since 2020 demanded its withdrawal in June, proclaiming the “failure” of the mission and denouncing the “instrumentalization” that it would have made the issue of human rights.

Here is a picture of this large-scale and risky operation which puts an end to ten years of efforts to try to stabilize a country prey to jihadism and a deep multidimensional crisis.

All-round tensions


MINUSMA, whose numbers are around 15,000 soldiers and police and more than 180 members have been killed in hostile acts, is supposed to have left by the 31st December.

The various armed actors vying for control of territory in the north are seeking to take advantage of the evacuation of MINUSMA camps. The army is rushing to recover them. The predominantly Tuareg separatist groups who oppose it have resumed hostilities against the army. The Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), affiliated with Al-Qaeda, has increased its attacks.

MINUSMA is therefore in the midst of a military escalation, made more dangerous by this which is perceived as the restrictions imposed by the authorities on its maneuvering capabilities.

Contingents attacked


After leaving five camps since August, MINUSMA completed its “accelerated withdrawal” from Tessalit on Sunday. She did so, she said, in a context “extremely tense and degraded, endangering the lives of her personnel”, with shots fired against one of her cargo planes and at her positions in the preceding days.

Part of the contingent, mainly Chadian, left by plane. But the rest took the road to Gao. More than 500 kilometers of desert, under constant threat from armed groups.


Same situation with the withdrawal, the next day, from Aguelhok, due to lack of flight authorization.

These convoys suffered attacks with explosive devices which caused injuries, according to MINUSMA. They were claimed by the GSIM. A truck driver was seriously injured and two others lightly injured Thursday when armed men opened fire on a logistics convoy leaving from Ansongo, another camp to be evacuated, the mission reported.

Abandoned equipment


MINUSMA said it was forced to destroy or decommission equipment such as vehicles, ammunition or generators, following UN rules, as it could not take them away. “Such losses could have been avoided” if 200 trucks had not been blocked in Gao since September 24 by travel restrictions from authorities, she said.

Trucks -tanks intended to resupply convoys are also stuck in Gao.

“Customs explains that the quantity of fuel is not justified,” assures a mission manager. A Malian police officer based in Gao argues that the authorities are afraid “of seeing MINUSMA deliver fuel to jihadists”.

Exacerbated distrust


Such an allegation , based on no evidence, reflects the mistrust between MINUSMA and junta.

A confidential note consulted by AFP and intended for the UN Security Council by the department of peacekeeping operations lists the obstacles to be overcome by MINUSMA: retention of flight or travel authorizations, but also embargo on imports to its attention or inability to patrol around its own camps for their surveillance. MINUSMA has developed a withdrawal plan B including measures of last resort.

The spokesperson for the Malian government, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, accused the former French ally, whom the junta also pushed out, of sparing “no effort to scare away MINUSMA”.

By accelerating the movement, MINUSMA is disrupting the plans of the army, which refuses to leave the field open to the separatists.

“The junta took the decision to fire MINUSMA, but they are being imposed the tempo of withdrawal”, estimates Jonathan Guiffard, expert associated with the Montaigne Institute.

And now Kidal


Tensions risk increasing with the departure from Kidal, stronghold of the Tuareg rebellion, a major sovereignty issue.

The departure was initially planned for the second half of November. It could go faster, with a MINUSMA official speaking of a matter of a few days.

A mission official indicated that non-essential personnel had started to leave.


“We are not going to sit idly by and endanger our troops,” said a Chadian officer.

Several interlocutors remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the subject.< /p>

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116