Two Bangladeshi peacekeepers injured in attack on UN convoy in Mali

It was the second deadliest peacekeeping operation - 310 peacekeepers have died in the mission, 18 from Bangladesh, according to UN data.

Arul Louis Nov 09, 2023
Peacekeepers from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on patrol in that country before they were ordered out by the military regime. (File Photo: UN)

Two Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been injured in attacks on a convoy of the UN mission in Mali that is in the process of withdrawing from the West African country, according to a spokesperson for the operation, Fatoumata Sinkoun Kaba.

The convoy on a 350-kilometre, seven-day trip from a base at Kidal to Gao was hit by improvised explosive devices (IED) along the way injuring a total of 37 peacekeepers, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.

He said that all the injured have been discharged after medical treatment or are in stable condition. 

He said that the convoy faced danger because they lacked air support because the Malian authorities refused to give flight clearance.

The military government in Mali ordered the withdrawal of the mission and the Security Council terminated it in June and set a December 31 deadline for it to completely pull out of the country where it had to dismantle its 13 bases.

As the security situation deteriorated in Mali, the UN speeded up the withdrawal.

Dujarric said that during the withdrawal “whatever assets we were able to take we took, others that we were not able to take that could cause a danger were destroyed or disabled”.

There were 848 peacekeepers from five countries including also Nepal travelling in 143 vehicles that left Kidai on October 31 and reached their destination Tuesday night, he said.

The operation formally known as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)  had a total of over11,500 UN personnel, of them 10,116 were peacekeepers including 1,657 from Bangladesh and 181 from Nepal.

Kaba said that  27 Guineans, six Chadians and Egyptians were among those injured during the latest IED attacks that targeted the convoy.

It was the second deadliest peacekeeping operation - 310 peacekeepers have died in the mission, 18 from Bangladesh, according to UN data.

MINUSMA was created by the Security Council in 2013 following a coup in 2012 and rising Islamist and ethnic insurgencies in the nation in the former French colony.

The mission was charged with supporting the political process for a transition to civilian rule and helping contain the insurgencies.

In the uneasy transition to civilian rule Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was elected president in 2013.

But Mali regressed last year when a coup led by a colonel, Assimi Goita, ousted Keita in 2020 and Goita declared himself the president the next year.

Goita ordered MINUSMA out of Mali in June and the Security Council complied.

The Russian mercenary group Wagner has been operating in Mali at the request of its government and its personnel were reported to be active despite the organisation's dissolution under the orders of Russia's President Vladimir Putin after its leader was involved in a failed armed rebellion.


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