In a statement released on Tuesday, the Malian military has accused the United Nations peacekeeping mission of compromising security in the town of Aguelhok by hastily vacating their camp, thus leaving the field open to “terrorists.”
The Malian Armed Forces (Fama) expressed deep regret over what they view as the Minusma’s swift departure from the Aguelhok camp, without allowing for the seamless transition of control to Malian authorities. Following this evacuation on Monday, it is alleged that “terrorists” took advantage of the situation, infiltrating the base and causing destruction to several facilities.
According to the Fama, these “terrorists” were subsequently “neutralized” by the Malian air force. Bamako contends that the hurried withdrawal of Minusma “jeopardizes security and stability in the locality of Aguelhok.”
Ironically, just the day before, Minusma had issued a statement lamenting the precarious security situation in the area. This context prompted the mission to expedite its departure by rendering equipment inoperable on-site, as was the case at the Tessalit camp.
Vehicles, ammunition, and generators were made non-functional as they could not be evacuated further south to Gao by truck. Minusma emphasizes in its release that the Malian authorities are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the peacekeeping forces during this withdrawal operation. The mission is theoretically set to conclude by December 31.