6 April 2018

Mali: UN Peacekeepers Killed in Mali As Violence Threatens Regional Stability

The UN has warned of growing instability in Mali, with chances that violence may spill into neighboring countries. Germany has made its mission in Mali a key defense priority, backing proposals to expand its role.

The UN mission in Mali on Friday said that two peacekeepers were killed and 10 others wounded during an attack on its northeastern camp. The peacekeepers killed in the overnight attack were from Chad, according to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The UN Security Council condemned the attack "in the strongest terms," urging the Mali government to "swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice."

"Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security," said MINUSMA in a statement. "Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable."

Since 2013, more than 150 peacekeepers have been killed in action, making the mission one of the UN's most dangerous.

Growing violence

An interim UN report provided to the Security Council last month warned that insecurity in Mali "continues to rage."

It noted that an armed pro-government coalition and a rebel alliance, both of which signed a 2015 peace deal, are seeing "progressive decline of their influence in areas traditionally under their indirect or direct control," AFP news agency reported, citing the document.

"Such loss of territorial control, adding to the increasing fragmentation of armed groups along ethnic lines and the subsequent multiplication of non-signatory armed groups, represent currently the main threat to the implementation of the agreement."

Greater German role

In 2013, the UN launched the 12,000-strong mission after France intervened earlier that year to help Malian authorities quell an Islamist insurgency in the north. Around 875 German troops comprise part of the peacekeeping force. Part of that contingent focuses on intelligence gathering.

Although present since the beginning, Germany has increased its role in the mission, in large part to support French counterterrorism measures in the Sahel region. Last year, the German parliament backed an increase in troops to Mali, bolstering the number to 1,000.

Last month, the government in Berlin also backed plans to expand its military role in Mali further, saying it was a priority alongside Iraq and Afghanistan.

Author: Martina Schwikowski

ls/msh (dpa, AFP)


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