Mali: Taureg rebels occupy military base vacated hurriedly by UN mission
Tuareg rebels in Mali say they have taken over a military base in the northern city of Kidal after it was vacated by the UN forces
The UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said it pulled out of the base when its last convoy of peacekeepers was attacked by two Improvised Explosive Devices while moving to Gao, another notable town in the north.
On social media, the Tuareg coalition declared victory, claiming control of the Kidal base.
Reports say the armed men occupied the camp immediately after the UN force pulled out.
MINUSMA has now vacated eight of its 13 bases after Mali’s coup leaders ordered the 15,000-strong mission to leave the West African country.
The junta said the mission has failed in its efforts to contain extremist insurgency that has taken a heavy toll on the region.
While confirming its departure in a statement, MINUSMA said “The conditions for the departure of all these bases were extremely difficult and trying, for a variety of reasons — all completely beyond the mission’s control — including the deterioration of the security situation and the resulting multiple threats to peacekeepers.”
The U.N. peacekeeping operation in Mali is one of the most dangerous in the world, with more than 300 MINUSMA members killed since operations began in 2013.