EIn a statement, Minusma confirmed that the Ber and Goundam bases were closed and officially transferred to Mali, through an agreement signed with the region’s government, which describes the respective infrastructure.
“The formal return [das bases] to the State of Mali symbolizes the end of the presence of MINUSMA in the areas in question and of the responsibilities that it had until now”, advanced the United Nations mission, having justified the departure with “the deterioration of security” in the region.
The mission also clarified that around 200 military personnel from Burkina Faso occupied the base in Ber, while a company from Côte d’Ivoire and a police unit of 140 personnel from Bangladesh were in Goundam.
Minusma also hopes to leave the Ménaka base, in the northeast of the African country, at the end of the month, in an operation that will mark the end of the first withdrawal phase, within the scope of the decision to put an immediate end to the mission deployed since 2013, approved in the end of June by the UN Security Council, at the request of the military junta that took power by force, as part of a coup d’état in 2020.
The withdrawal of the approximately 11,600 soldiers and 1,500 police of dozens of nationalities, who were present in Mali, must be staggered until December 31st.
The Ber area was also the scene of tensions for several days between the army and the Russian paramilitary group Wagner and the Azawad Movement Coordination (CMA, former Tuareg rebellion), according to the latter organization.
The CMA also criticizes the military for having created a new constitution, approved in June, which, according to that group, compromises the 2015 Algiers peace agreement.
The junta has made sovereignty its motto since taking over the country, breaking the alliance with France and its partners against terrorism, to turn militarily and politically to Russia.
Since 2012, Mali has been facing a deep security crisis that started in the north and spread to the center of the country, as well as to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Also Read: UN Mission in Mali anticipates withdrawal due to tension in the region
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