The Malian Army Invests Without Incident the Former UN Camp of Goundam

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The Malian military has successfully taken over the former UN camp in Goundam without any reported incidents. On August 16th, 2023, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (Minusma) officially handed over the camp near Tombouctou as part of its gradual withdrawal from the country.

This transfer marks another step in Minusma’s exit strategy, set to be completed by the end of the year, and signifies the Malian army’s assumption of control over the facility. Unlike the transition in Ber on August 13, which was marred by two attacks claimed by the jihadist group Jnim (Group for Support of Islam and Muslims), affiliated with Al-Qaeda, the Goundam handover occurred without any disruptive events.

The last contingent of peacekeepers departing from Goundam arrived in Tombouctou in the late afternoon of August 16th. Their subsequent repatriation to their respective home countries highlights the broader objective of redistributing UN-held camps, ultimately leading to a gradual reduction in the UN’s presence within Mali.

Notably, the departure from Ber was met with adversity, as peacekeepers encountered two attacks orchestrated by Jnim. These incidents resulted in injuries to four personnel. Just a few days prior, a convoy leaving the Ménaka camp, as part of the preparatory stages for the withdrawal, came under fire; fortunately, no casualties were reported.

The ongoing disengagement of the blue helmets accentuates a heightened level of movement, consequently increasing the vulnerability to potential terrorist attacks. In the context of Goundam, however, it is worth noting that no untoward occurrences have been documented by Minusma. This relatively smooth transition underscores the meticulous planning and cooperation involved in the shift of responsibilities from the UN to the Malian military, while also underscoring the challenges and security concerns that arise during this intricate process. As the international community closely observes the developments in Mali, it remains imperative for all parties involved to ensure a seamless and secure transition for the nation’s stability and security in the post-UN phase.


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