MALI: UN Adds 2,500 Peacekeepers to Mali

TIMBUKTU JULY 1, 2016 (CISA) – The United Nations Security Council has agreed to add 2,500 peacekeepers to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

The resolution, which was approved unanimously by the 15-nation council on June 29, stated that the Mali peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) should “take all necessary means to carry out its mandate … (and) to move to a more proactive and robust posture.”

According to the UN, MINUSMA has been hit by a series of deadly attacks that have made Mali become the deadliest place to serve for UN peacekeepers, and the increase will bring the force’s maximum size to 13,289 military personnel and 1,920 police, Reuters reported.

A peace deal signed last year by Mali’s government and various separatist groups has failed to prevent periodic violence in northern Mali by Islamist militants, who have also staged assaults on high profile targets in the capital Bamako, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

Implementation of that peace agreement is now one of MINUSMA’s strategic priorities, along with taking a tougher stance to protect civilians in the face of a “resilient terrorist threat” said French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre who was council president this month.

Delattre said that “highly specialized European contingents” – including Special Forces and intelligence experts – would be among the additional forces sent to Mali.

The conflict in Mali began following a coup and a failed counter-coup in 2012 that led to Tuareg separatists to seize towns and cities of the north. Al-Qaeda-linked fighters then overpowered the Tuareg, taking control of northern Mali for nearly 10 months until they were ousted in a French-led military offensive.

An alliance of Tuareg-led rebels and the Malian government signed a peace deal on June 20, 2015 which was meant to end the unrest.

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