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Ivory Coast to quit Mali UN peacekeeping mission

Ivory Coast says it will leave the UN peacekeeping mission in troubled Mali. This comes at the same time that Britain said it would leave the mission.

Ivory Coast says it will leave the UN peacekeeping mission in troubled Mali. This comes at the same time that Britain said it would leave the mission.

AFP got a copy of a letter sent to the MINUSMA mission on Tuesday that said Ivorian troops would leave in August 2023.

It didn’t say why it was pulling out, but Ivory Coast and Mali’s junta have been fighting for months over the fact that Ivorian troops are being held at Bamako airport.

The letter sent to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali says, “By order of the government of Ivory Coast, the permanent mission confirms the progressive withdrawal of Ivorian military personnel and police deployed with MINUSMA.”

The letter also says that the rotations of Ivorian forces that were supposed to happen in October and November this year will no longer happen.

The rotations were supposed to apply to a security unit based in Mopti, as well as to police officers and military officers who were in charge of the headquarters.

It also said that troops and other people working in MINUSMA would not be pulled out as planned in August.

No official reason was given for the decision, but tensions have been rising between Abidjan and Bamako since 49 Ivorian soldiers were arrested at Mali’s airport on July 10 and called “mercenaries.”

Three of them have since been let go, but the rest are still in jail because they are accused of trying to hurt state security. The city of Abidjan says that the soldiers were sent to help MINUSMA.

The Ivorian president, Alassane Ouattara, said at the beginning of October that things were “going well” with the efforts to solve the crisis.

After things got worse with the junta, Britain said on Monday that it would cut short the deployment of 300 troops with MINUSMA.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mali’s elected president, was overthrown in August 2020 by officers who were angry that they couldn’t stop a jihadist insurgency that had killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to leave their homes.

The following year, the military got rid of an interim civilian government and started getting closer to the Kremlin. They bought Russian warplanes and helicopters and brought in people who were called “Wagner mercenaries” by the West.

Relations with France, which used to rule Mali as a colony and has been a traditional ally, went downhill quickly.

In August, France pulled its last soldiers out of the country, ending a more than nine-year mission to fight jihadists.

“Two coups in three years have undermined international efforts to advance peace,” James Heappey, the British Defense Minister, told parliament.

“This government cannot deploy our nation’s military to provide security when the host country’s government is not willing to work with us to deliver lasting stability and security.”

He also said, “The Malian government’s partnership with Wagner group is counterproductive to lasting stability and security in their region.”

– Major UN mission –

MINUSMA was launched in 2013 to help one of the poorest countries in the world deal with a bloody jihadist campaign.

On June 29, the UN Security Council renewed its mission for another year, even though the junta did not agree with requests to let rights investigators with the mission move around freely.

MINUSMA is one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions. As of June, 17,557 troops, police, civilians, and volunteers were there to help keep the peace.

The website says that Ivory Coast has 857 soldiers and 30 police officers.

MINUSMA is also one of the most dangerous UN peacekeeping missions, with 281 deaths, most of which were caused by acts of violence, especially improvised explosive devices.

Egypt said in July that it was pulling its 1,035 peacekeepers out of MINUSMA. This came after two of its peacekeepers were killed, and five were hurt near the northern town of Gao, which was a flashpoint.