/ Africa Issued on: 14/07/2022 – 17:02Modified: 14/07/2022 – 17:04
A UN policeman escorts a United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) armoured car during a patrol in Timbuktu, on December 8, 2021. © Florent Vergnes, AFP Mali will from Thursday suspend all new rotations of the United Nations’ MINUSMA peacekeeping mission, including those already scheduled, for “national security” reasons, the foreign ministry said.
The suspension will last until a meeting is held to “facilitate the coordination and regulation” of the rotation of contingents, it said in a statement.
The announcement came four days after the Malian authorities arrested 49 Ivorian soldiers it later described as “mercenaries” intent on toppling the country’s military-led government.
Ivory Coast says the soldiers were so-called National Support Elements (NSE) — a UN procedure allowing contingents of peacekeeping missions to call on outside contractors for logistical duties.
The soldiers, who were arrested after arriving at Bamako airport aboard a special flight, comprised the fifth rotation under this scheme, according to Ivory Coast.
The Malian foreign ministry’s statement did not refer to the Ivorians’ arrest.
It gave no date for the meeting to discuss MINUSMA rotations.
However, it assured the UN mission that Mali would “work diligently to create conditions conducive to the lifting of this suspension of rotation, which is an essential step in enabling the deployed contingents to ensure the proper implementation of MINUSMA’s mandate.”