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The UN convoy successfully completed a dangerous 350 kilometer trip in Mali.
Africa World News

The UN convoy successfully completed a dangerous 350 kilometer trip in Mali.

The progress marks the most recent phase in the rapid removal plan for the Mission, also called MINUSMA, which is set to depart from the West African nation by the end of this year, following ten years of operation.

On October 31st, 143 vehicles departed from Kidal and covered a distance of almost 350 kilometers. They were carrying 848 peacekeepers from Bangladesh, Chad, Egypt, Guinea, and Nepal, along with equipment.

‘A tremendous feat’

The convoy, reported to be around nine kilometers in length, encountered six improvised explosive devices during their journey.

37 UN peacekeepers needed medical treatment, but they have all been released or are in stable health now.

On Wednesday in New York, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN, stated that the convoy had to leave without air support because the Malian authorities did not grant flight clearance. This put the peacekeepers at a higher risk for safety.

He informed reporters that, aside from feeling unsafe, the convoy also had to deal with harsh weather and deteriorating roads, resulting in vehicle malfunctions that added to their difficulties while traveling to Gao.

He stated that due to the delays, their supplies were running low and they needed to be replenished by air with fuel, water, and other items.

During Wednesday’s briefing, Mr. Dujarric responded to inquiries from reporters by stating that the convoy’s arrival was a testament to the incredible efforts of our peacekeepers, who persevere through challenging conditions.

“It is an impressive achievement to successfully transport a convoy of approximately 800 individuals, spanning nine kilometers, to a place of relative safety. We are pleased to report that, to our knowledge, none of the peacekeepers sustained serious injuries during the operation.”

Departure and liquidation

The exit from Kidal signifies the shutting down of MINUSMA’s eighth base out of a grand total of thirteen.

Over the next few weeks, the Mission will conclude its presence in Ansango, which is situated in the Gao region. This will be followed by Mopti, marking the completion of the second and final phase of the withdrawal plan.

Once the liquidation phase commences on January 1st, MINUSMA will transfer control of Gao, Timbuktu, and Bamako to the Malian authorities. These locations are currently being fortified by MINUSMA.

A limited group will stay to manage the organized transfer of possessions from nations that provided military personnel to the Mission, and proper disposal of equipment belonging to the United Nations.

Mr. Dujarric stated that the assets would be returned to their home country or used in other UN missions, given to the Malian government, or sold in the market, following the appropriate rules and regulations for closing peacekeeping missions.

End drawing nigh

The United Nations Security Council created MINUSMA in April 2013 after a coup in Bamako, the capital of Mali, and an uprising in the northern region.

The Mission has aided in political procedures and completed several security-related assignments. It has frequently been cited as one of the most hazardous UN peacekeeping missions, with a documented 310 deaths.

The Council ended the Mission’s authority in June at the request of Mali’s military regime.

As the number of MINUSMA staff being reduced continues, half of the total 13,871 personnel have left the country.

Chadian and Guinean peacekeepers who participated in the convoy leaving Kidal will be leaving Gao this week to return to their respective countries.

Mr. Dujarric reiterated the UN’s commitment to finalizing the departure of MINUSMA by December 31, and emphasized that they rely on Mali’s complete cooperation in this matter.