The mission of the multinational force has not been smooth, leading to the withdrawal of France and other European partners.
Ties between Mali’s Transitional Government and international bodies involved in the peace keeping mission are getting sour by the day. Since July 20, 2022, the question that has been on the lips of many observers is, will the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA), depart from Mali. While some international experts have been cogitating, things recently went worse following the expulsion of Olivier Salgado, the spokesperson for MINUSMA by the Malian authorities. The authorities, who have been detaining 49 Ivorian soldiers considered to be “mercenaries” since July 10, have accused the representative of the organization of having affirmed “without any proof” that Bamako had been informed of their arrival on Malian soil.
Considered by some experts as one of the most dangerous UN missions in the world, MINUSMA today finds itself weakened by the departure of Barkhane forces. For more than a decade, the Barkhane forces provided the mission with valuable air support. The expulsion of Olivier Salgado that has brought to light the tensions between the Malian government and the UN organization is not new. In the past years, the UN mission in Mali has been a subject of criticism because enormous resources have been deployed in the Sahel without tangible results for the population. Present in Mali since 2013, the MINUSMA currently includes 12, 261 soldiers from 57 countries deployed in the field. Unlike the French (Barkhane) and European (Takuba) military missions, its mandate is limited to supporting the Malian authorities in securing the populations and does not include the fight against terrorism. The mission also includes 1,718 police officers as well as 1,180 civilians, including human rights investigators. Despite the presence of these forces, MINUSMA on May 30, 2022 published a report indicating a sharp increase in abuses, sometimes attributed to the Malian army itself, supported “by foreign military elements”.
The Malian Foreign Ministry reacted, castigating allegations not “based on any tangible evidence” and aimed at “discrediting” the Malian forces. Though the UN Security Council approved the renewal of the mission on June 30 for one year, Mali refused to grant human rights investigators freedom of movement. To these tensions around the question of human rights was added the affair of the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested at Bamako Airport. Claiming “national security”, the authorities...