Mali: UN must enable peacekeepers to confront terrorists | Inquirer News
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Mali: UN must enable peacekeepers to confront terrorists

/ 11:44 AM January 12, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — UN peacekeepers in Mali should have a mandate to confront terrorist groups threatening a fragile process, the West African country’s foreign minister said Monday.

Abdoulaye Diop said Malian security forces are on the front lines in the battle against terrorist groups but “cannot by themselves confront this phenomenon.” He urged the Security Council to consider bolstering the operational capacity of the UN mission “to adapt to this security context.”

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He declined to offer specifics but said Mali fears becoming a convergence point for various terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, which has a presence to the north in Libya and Boko Haram, which operates in Nigeria.

Various Islamic extremists groups operate in northern Mali, including al-Qaida’s North Africa branch. The groups continue to carry out attacks against UN peacekeepers nearly three years after they were pushed out of cities and town in northern Mali by French forces.

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READ: Islamic extremists kill at least 15 Tuaregs in Mali’s north

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said hardly a day goes by without UN forces in Mali getting attacked by improvised explosive devices.

The attacks have forced the mission to direct two-thirds of its infantry capacity to protecting itself, seriously hindering its ability to carry out tasks meant to bolster the peace process, according to a report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month.

The US military has stepped in to help the UN mission counter IEDs, while several European countries staff an intelligence cell in Mali that analyzes input from unarmed drones, sensor-equipped attack helicopters and special forces.

Ban’s report said he is “committed to implementing innovative measures to ensure the implementation of the mandate of MINUSMA,” as the mission is known, “while enhancing the protection of its personnel.”

READ: 2 arrested over attack on luxury hotel in Mali

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TAGS: Mali, peacekeeping, Security, terrorist, UN, United Nations
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