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UN Beefs Up Peacekeeping Force in Mali

BAMAKO, MALI—The U.N. Security Council voted Wednesday to beef up peacekeeping operations in Mali, in light of attacks making the mission known as MINUSMA the world’s most deadly.

“Today the terrorists are stronger,” said Inhaye Ag Mohamed, the secretary of Mali’s peace and reconciliation committee, “and we are asking the U.N. Security Council to reinforce the mandate to adapt to this new situation.”

The Council on Wednesday increased the U.N. mission’s force by 2,500, bringing the total to 13,300 troops and just under 2,000 police. The French-drafted resolution, passed on a unanimous vote, also directed MINUSMA “to move to a more proactive and robust posture” to carry out its mandate of supporting the government and re-establishing state authority.

Jihadist groups, which have attacked numerous sites in northern Mali, are extending their reach farther south, even hitting a hotel in Bamako last November.

It is a challenge considered unprecedented in the U.N.’s history.

Never has a peacekeeping mission faced a situation like the one in Mali, says Kalidou Sidibé, a political analyst and expert on security in West Africa.

“Peacekeeping missions are usually there to preserve the peace,” he said. “In Mali, you have a variety of armed groups involved in trafficking and terrorism activities, and on top of that you have jihadists who know the terrain better than even the homegrown rebels.”




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