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Northern Mali: UN Peacekeepers Begin Sensitive Pull Out

The UN stabilisation mission in Mali, MINUSMA says they have started pulling out from two camps in the tense Northern Kidal region, being the Tessalit and Aguelhok camps.

Anticipating the UN disengagement, the Malian army landed two aircrafts at one of the camps at Tessalit, saying the aircrafts came under fire from rebels during the landing.

Taking so social media, the Army said a single plane came under fire but managed to land and leave without too much difficulty after enemy positions were neutralised by the air force.

The UN peacekeepers cited the shooting during the morning as illustrating “the rapid deterioration in security conditions for the lives of hundreds of soldiers for peace.

The withdrawal would be completed “as soon as possible, including if necessary by accelerating the withdrawal” from a third camp, at Kidal town itself, which had been planned for mid-November.

Mali’s ruling junta, which seized power in 2020, had in June demanded that the mission — which had been deployed since 2013 — depart the country despite being in the grip of jihadism and a deep multidimensional crisis.

The MINUSMA has transferred 4 camps to Malian authorities since August. However, it is the withdrawal from camps in the region of Kidal and in the eponymous city.

Northern Mali is the theatre of fighting between the Malian authorities, an alliance of groups seeking independence known as CMA and Al-Qaeda-linked group GSIM.

The UN withdrawal from northern Mali is supposed to end by December 31after 10 years of presence.

Camp departures have however exacerbated rivalries between armed actors in the region.

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