The UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) handed over one of its last camps in the country to the national authorities before the end of its definitive withdrawal, as demanded by the junta, a Minusma spokeswoman has revealed.
Minusma handed over to the Malian authorities the Mopti camp in the center of the country, one of the hotbeds of jihadism and violence that have been bloodying the Sahel for years.
The handover went off without a hitch, unlike the recent handover of camps in the north, where the Minusma had precipitated its departure under the pressure of military escalation between the army and armed groups, said Fatoumata Kaba in a written message to the media.
The camp was most recently home to peacekeepers from Bangladesh and Togo. In the past, it has also hosted Egyptian, Pakistani and Senegalese contingents. With the disengagement from Mopti, Minusma enters the home stretch. The UN Security Council has given it until December 31 to complete its withdrawal. Fatoumata Kaba confirmed that on Monday, Minusma will organize a ceremony to close its headquarters on the outskirts of the capital, Bamako. This ceremony will mark the end of the mission.
The colonels who took power by force in 2020 in Bamako demanded in June the immediate departure of the Minusma deployed since 2013 in this country in the grip of a deep, multidimensional crisis. The Security Council terminated the mission’s mandate on June 30.
Since then, the Minusma, whose strength has hovered around 15,000 soldiers and police officers and whose more than 180 members have been killed in hostile acts, has staggered the handovers. It has yet to close the sites in Bamako, Gao and Timbuktu, where what the UN calls the “liquidation” of the mission will take place after January 1. This will involve handing over the last remaining equipment to the authorities or terminating existing contracts.
As of Friday, more than 10,500 Minusma personnel had left Mali, out of a total of around 13,800 at the start of the withdrawal.
Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have signed a mutual defense pact as the three Sahel countries aim to help each other against possible threats of armed rebellion or external aggression. The charter, known as the Alliance of Sahel States, binds the signatories to assist one another—including militarily—in the event of an attack on any one of them.
An armed rebellion that erupted in northern Mali in 2012 spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.

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