UN Convoy Arrives in Gao as Peacekeepers Withdraw From Mali
A convoy from the UN Mission in Mali arrived in the northeastern city of Gao on Tuesday night (November 7, 2023) after a week-long journey, marking the departure of peacekeepers from the volatile Kidal region. The development is the latest step in the accelerated withdrawal process of the mission, known as MINUSMA, which is due to leave Mali by the end of the year after a decade in operation.
UN News reports that 143 vehicles left Kidal on October 31, and travelled nearly 350 kilometres, transporting 848 peacekeepers from Bangladesh, Chad, Egypt, Guinea and Nepal, as well as equipment. The convoy - which was reportedly approximately nine kilometres long - encountered six improvised explosive devices along the way.
Thirty-seven "blue helmets" required medical attention, though all have since been discharged or are in stable condition.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has been described as the deadliest place to serve as a UN "blue helmet", is due to draw down fully by December 31, in accordance with its Security Council mandate. Close to 13,000 uniformed personnel will be repatriated and civilian staff will leave while equipment is relocated to other missions or sent back to the countries which supplied items such as vehicles.
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