Mali and the UN: Why peacekeepers are being told to leave

Mali has told the UN that its 12,000 peacemakers need to leave, after 10 years countering Islamist militants in the country.

Last year, France withdrew its forces after military leaders seized control of Mali and brought in mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group.

In 2013, the UN launched a mission after separatist rebels and Islamist fighters banded together and occupied northern Mali. They hoped to create a separate state.

The UN peacekeepers arrived after 5,000 French troops, who were sent to try and put down the uprising.

The threat from Islamist militants, who have killed several thousand people and forced tens of thousands from their homes, has continued over the years.

While the UN force in Mali has a wider brief to protect civilians and contain the jihadist threat, it is not intended to go on the offensive against militants.

In Mali and across the wider region attacks have been carried out by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and an al-Qaeda affiliate called Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin.

Another jihadist group, Ansaroul Islam, is active in Burkina Faso, and Boko Haram is active in countries around Lake Chad.

Has the UN mission been successful?

Despite the presence of UN peacekeepers and French troops, who led counter-terror operations, the number of terror attacks in Mali steadily increased, as did the number of Malians joining insurgent groups.



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