The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has completed its accelerated withdrawal from its Tessalit base in northern Mali’s Kidal region, despite an extremely tense and deteriorating security situation that put its personnel’s lives in danger. The closure of the Tessalit camp marks MINUSMA’s first withdrawal from the Kidal region and the sixth MINUSMA base to be closed under Security Council resolution 2690, which ended MINUSMA’s mandate on June 30, 2023.
In a note to journalists sent out on Sunday, the UN stated, ”The UN highlights the responsibility of the Malian Transitional Government for the safety and security of peacekeepers and calls on it to extend all necessary cooperation to facilitate MINUSMA’s withdrawal.
The UN Security Council formed the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali in 2013, and it has been dubbed the deadliest place for a peacekeeper to operate.
In response to a request from the country’s military government to leave mail, the Council terminated its mandate in June. The mission “is fully committed to respecting this timeframe” and is on track to depart the country of West Africa by December 31.
On Saturday, MINUSMA finished the hastened removal of military and civilian personnel from its station in Tessalit in the unrest-plagued north of Mali, but it is still anxious about the security of a land convoy travelling to Gao, which is located some 550 kilometres (342 miles) away.
According to MINUSMA’s message on X on October 20, ”Northern Mali: Our aircraft approaching Tessalit airstrip was struck on the left wing around 13:30 yesterday. Luckily, there was no significant damage to the plane chartered to load cargo as part of our drawdown. Any assaults against peacekeepers may be considered war crimes”.
MINUSMA is actively monitoring the situation to alter the strategy as it prepares to start retreating from its base in Aguelhok, another community in the Kidal region.
The UN noted that the hasty withdrawal from Mali “is resulting in the destruction of equipment, such as vehicle equipment, ammunition, generators, and other assets, that should have been returned to troop-contributing countries or redeployed to other United Nations peacekeeping missions, causing significant material and financial losses.”
The note then went on to state that “such losses could have been avoided if the 200 trucks, held in Gao since September 24, 2023, due to movement restrictions, had been allowed to leave for the Kidal region to collect and transport equipment from the three MINUSMA bases, as part of the mission’s overall withdrawal plan.”
The UN reminded the Malian government of their obligations and asked all parties “to enable MINUSMA to carry out all phases of the withdrawal in a safe and orderly manner.”