Mali | Blue Berets seriously injured in attack
Defence Redefined
Published on 02/11/2023 at 10:15

Several members of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali (MINUSMA), which is currently withdrawing from the Sahel state, were seriously injured on Wednesday when their convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, a UN spokesman said.

The day before yesterday, MINUSMA Blue Berets left their base in Kindal in a long convoy that headed towards Gao, a large city in the north, some 350 kilometers away.

Based on preliminary information, the blast seriously injured several Blue Berets. MINUSMA later clarified via X that eight of its members were injured, all of whom were taken to Gao.

The attack followed two similar incidents the day before Tuesday, in which two Blue Berets were slightly injured and treated at the scene. This convoy was the last to leave Kindal for the MINUSMA base in Gao under extremely difficult security conditions.

The convoy had to move without air support, as no flight permission was given by the Malian authorities, something that increases the risks for the Blue Berets who have to travel hundreds of kilometers in dangerous areas, while full cooperation was once again requested from Bamako in the withdrawal of the peacekeeping force.

The military junta ruling Mali demanded in June that the peacekeepers leave without delay, prompting the Security Council to begin an unprecedented, accelerated withdrawal process, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

MINUSMA, amid a rapidly deteriorating security situation, with various armed actors vying for control of areas – separatists, jihadists, the Army – hastened its withdrawal, much to the chagrin of the military regime.

It thus abandoned its positions in Kindal without waiting for Army reinforcements to arrive, allowing Tuareg-dominated separatist rebels to overtake the Armed Forces in the race for control of the region between the central state and armed groups in the north.

Also read: UN | Peacekeeping mission ends in Mali




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