Bamako — THERE are mixed feelings over the decision by the United Nations (UN) to renew the mandate of its peacekeeping force in Mali.
The skepticism comes after criticism the presence of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) had worsened the crisis in the volatile West African country.
Hassane Hamadou, Mali's director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said surveys conducted among displaced populations in the northern and central parts of Mali have showed that military operations had forced people to flee.
He pointed out MINUSMA was one of the most targeted forces in Mali by armed attacks and each of its deployment on the field resulted in limited access for humanitarians.
Deployed in 2013, it is the UN's most dangerous peacekeeping mission, with 200 peacekeepers killed out of a force of about 15 000 personnel.
"While it is critical for the UN Security Council to address the protection of civilians from violence in central Mali, inter-communal violence requires more than a military strategy and the international community must increase its efforts over inclusive dialogue, social cohesion and peaceful resolution of local conflicts," Hamadou said.
Last week, the Security Council renewed the mandate of MINUSMA for a year, requesting the mission to respond to the deteriorating security situation in the country's central region.
Issa Konfourou, Mali's envoy to the UN, appealed for resources to quell the banditry and ethnic violence.
"Creating a mandate is one thing but mobilizing resources is another," Konfourou said.