Mali wants the UN to leave “without delay”

The US said Monday (19 June) it “regrets” the decision by Mali’s ruling junta to revoke consent for a decade-long UN peacekeeping mission.

Troops from the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (aka MINUSMA) were first deployed in 2013 after an insurgency there.

But coups in 2020 and 2021 brought a military government to power, and last Friday (16 June), Mali’s foreign minister asked the UN to withdraw “without delay”, citing the mission’s failure to bring peace.

Intrigue’s take: UN missions across the continent have long struggled to achieve their objectives; there’s often a mismatch between their lofty aims and the UN’s resources, capabilities and mandate.

So countries like Mali have started turning to mercenary groups like Wagner, that bring narrower objectives (kill insurgents), fewer limits (legal or ethical), and cost around $10M per month in cash and mining rights.

But will that bring peace?

Also worth noting:

  • In February, the junta expelled MINUSMA’s human rights chief after he accused the Wagner Group of human rights violations.
  • recent poll claims 72% of Malians blame MINUSMA for failing to protect civilians, and 90% support Russian involvement.