UN looks to extend Mali mission

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, June 13, 2016
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
Comments Off on UN looks to extend Mali mission

As the United Nations looks to extend its most deadly active mission for peacekeepers for another year, those working closely with its venture in Mali say poor local collaboration and funding gaps are costing lives.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the Security Council to approve 2,500 extra troops and police for the Mali force, known by the acronym MINUSMA, and to keep the mission in place until June 2017.

Increasingly relentless militant attacks and growing hostility from locals have soured its presence in the country, with 68 peacekeepers killed since it was established in April 2013, including 12 in the space of two weeks in May.

Militant organisations such as Ansar Dine and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have excelled in a combination of improvised explosive devices and ambushes in the unforgiving desert terrain of the country’s north.

Attacks on UN peacekeepers “are increasingly complex and sophisticated”, Ban wrote in a report to the council, while banditry was also threatening the livelihoods of the citizens they were sent to protect.

MINUSMA military chief of staff General Herve Gomart laid out several challenges in this respect at a press conference on Thursday in Bamako.

“To combat terrorist groups, we have to know where they are, how many of them there are, and how they work,” Gomart said.

“That requires technical capacities that we don’t have today. But what is need above all is intelligence — human intelligence,” Gomart admitted.

The mission is supposed to oversee the implementation of a faltering peace deal signed in 2015 by the government, loyalist militias and the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), a coalition of rebel groups.

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