Mali:UN official says security situation worrying

The security situation in Mali “remains worrying” despite recent troop deployments and some progress on the country’s peace accord, the head of the United Nations (UN)’s peacekeeping force said Saturday in Bamako.

“The overall security situation remains worrying. We are all too frequently attacked by armed groups,” Herve Ladsous said at a press conference.

Deployed since July 2013, the UN’s 13,000-strong peacekeeping mission — the MINUSMA —has suffered one of the highest fatality rates of peacekeeping missions since the UN deployed to Somalia in 1993, with more than 70 Blue Helmets killed.

Ladsous further said, “The [peace] process is far from being achieved” despite the peace accord of June 2015 signed between Bamako and the groups that support it and the former Tuareg rebels in the north.

The Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defense Group (GATIA), which supports the central government in Bamako, signed the peace deal with state authorities and members of the country’s former rebel alliance.

Since the peace deal was signed, the GATIA has been accused of multiple ceasefire violations, and in September last year, US Ambassador Paul Folmsbee told the government it should “sever all ties” with the group.

Ladsous is due to be replaced as head of the peacekeeping force in April by another Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

The peace accord signed by the Malian government and the rebels ended years of fighting in the north, but its implementation has been piecemeal.

Mali regained control of the north after a French-led military intervention in January 2013 drove out militants, but insurgents remain active across large parts of the region.

By Africafrique and agencies

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