from RUDD KONTE in Bamako, Mali
BAMAKO, (CAJ News) – THE United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission has withdrawn from Mali with a reputation as one of the most tragic deployments in the organisation’s history.
Some 311 UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeepers were killed and more than 700 were injured during the ten years the mission was deployed in the West African country.
Only the UN Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL), established in 1978, exceeds the death toll, with 332 “Blue Helmets” killed.
In Mali, the beginning of this year, January 1, marked the start of the liquidation period, during which a smaller team reporting to the Department of Operational Support, along with the rear parties of troop- and police-contributing countries, will remain at sites in the capital Bamako and Gao.
The team is to oversee the transportation of assets belonging to troop- and police-contributing countries to the respective nations, and the appropriate disposal of equipment belonging to the UN.
António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, expressed gratitude to MINUSMA personnel, including the Head of Mission, Special Representative of the Secretary-General El-Ghassim Wane.
“The Secretary-General particularly appreciates the commitment and service of the troop- and police-contributing countries in difficult circumstances, including during the drawdown and withdrawal phase of the mission,” Guterres’ spokesperson said.
“The Secretary-General and the entire United Nations family stands in sympathy and solidarity with the loved ones, friends and colleagues of the fallen staff as we remain inspired by their selfless devotion to the cause of peace,” the official added.
The entire UN system, including the 21 agencies, funds and programmes of the country team in Mali, in collaboration with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel, pledged to continue its support in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Mali.
The country is beset by banditry mostly perpetrated by Islamist insurgents.
It suffered a coup in 2021 when Colonel Assimi Goïta seized power from interim president, Bah Ndaw, and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.
– CAJ News