UN Convoy Attacked in Mali, Two Bangladeshi Peacekeepers Injured

The mission was charged with supporting the political process for a transition to civilian rule and helping contain the insurgencies…reports Asian Lite News

Two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were injured in attacks on a convoy of the UN mission in Mali that is in the process of withdrawing from the West African nation, according to a spokesperson.

The convoy on a 350-km, seven-day trip from a base at Kidal to Gao was hit by improvised explosive devices (IED) along the way injuring a total of 37 peacekeepers, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on Wednesday.

He said that the injured have been discharged after medical treatment or are in stable condition, adding that the convoy faced danger because they lacked air support as the Malian authorities refused to give flight clearance.

The military government in Mali ordered the withdrawal of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the Security Council terminated it in June and set a December 31 deadline for it to completely pull out of the country where it had to dismantle its 13 bases.

As the security situation deteriorated in Mali, the UN speeded up the withdrawal.

Dujarric said that during the withdrawal “whatever assets we were able to take we took, others that we were not able to take that could cause a danger were destroyed or disabled”.

There were 848 peacekeepers from five countries, including Nepal, travelling in 143 vehicles that left Kidai on October 31 and reached their destination on Tuesday night, he said.

MINUSMA had a total of over 11,500 UN personnel, of them 10,116 were peacekeepers, including 1,657 from Bangladesh and 181 from Nepal.

Kaba said that 27 Guineans, six Chadians and Egyptians were among those injured during the latest IED attacks that targeted the convoy.

it was the second deadliest peacekeeping operation: 310 peacekeepers have died in the mission, 18 from Bangladesh, according to UN data.

MINUSMA was created by the Security Council in 2013 following a coup in 2012 and rising Islamist and ethnic insurgencies in the nation in the former French colony.

The mission was charged with supporting the political process for a transition to civilian rule and helping contain the insurgencies.

In the uneasy transition to civilian rule Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was elected president in 2013.

But Mali regressed last year when a coup led by a colonel, Assimi Goita, ousted Keita in 2020 and Goita declared himself the president the next year.

Goita ordered MINUSMA out of Mali in June and the Security Council complied.

The Russian mercenary group Wagner has been operating in Mali at the request of it government and its personnel were reported to be active despite the organisation’s dissolution under the orders of President Vladimir Putin after its leader was involved in a failed armed rebellion.

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