March 1, 2024

US expresses worry over ‘worsening violence’ in Mali

The US government says it is deeply concerned over the threat of worsening violence in Mali, citing attacks on the UN peacekeeping mission.

State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said the attacks were “unacceptable” and condemned “such violence and the larger threat posed by armed actors operating” in the West African country.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, announced on Monday that it was forced to pull out earlier than anticipated from the northern town of Ber as security continue to worsen.

MINUSMA said its withdrawing forces had been attacked twice, leading to the injury of some of its soldiers.

The US State Department stressed that the attacks indicated a growing threat of worsening violence and the importance of all Malian parties to settle their differences peacefully.

“It is critical that Minusma be permitted to conduct its withdrawal in a safe and orderly manner, and we call on the transition government to cooperate fully until the final Minusma element departs,” it added.

Minusma has over 13,000 soldiers. Its decade-long effort to halt the rise of extremist violence has failed.

Wagner mercenaries from Russia are now assisting Mali’s military leadership.

Western governments have accused Wagner of human rights violations in Ukraine and some parts of Africa. The United States sanctioned Ivan Maslov, Wagner’s top official in Mali, last month. Wagner has not responded to the allegations.

 

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