Tags: Mali | conflict | UN

UN Peacekeeping Force in Mali Understaffed

Friday, 13 Jun 2014 02:52 PM

The United Nations has deployed only 74 percent of the authorized level of peacekeepers to Mali and has failed to send military helicopters to help the troops protect the West African nation from armed groups linked to al-Qaida, a new report says.

The report from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which was obtained by the Agence France-Presse ahead of its distribution, says the peacekeeping mission to Mali has fewer than 8,300 soldiers on the ground, although the United Nations mandated that 11,200 be deployed.

The peacekeepers took over in July 2013 from African forces fighting armed terrorist groups that occupied northern Mali in 2012.

The U.N. mission has struggled to get troops into place as France seeks to draw down its force and as security deteriorates in the north while attacks on international and Mali security forces increase.

Police units are also undermanned with 979 officers on the ground, 69 percent of the authorized total of 1,440, said the report.

It calls on contributing states to accelerate the deployment of personnel or assets, saying the force still lacks military utility helicopters, "seriously hampering its air mobility."

The secretary general's report, which covers the period March 24 to May 26, said Mali security forces and UN peacekeepers were coming under increasing attack as security in the north deteriorates.

Seven UN peacekeepers were injured in separate incidents, and threats of retaliation against civilians for cooperating with the international community have been reported, it said.

On April 7, a homemade bomb in Menaka near a UN camp was detonated by remote control "demonstrating the insurgents' improved tactics and underscoring the vulnerability of United Nations and humanitarian personnel."

On April 30 another bomb was found 300 yards outside a UN camp in Kidal, the cradle of Mali's Tuareg separatist movement, and rockets have landed in and near other sites.

Bandits have also attacked trucks transporting supplies for the force, whose proposed budget its second year is $812.7 million.

Staff safety and security remain "major concerns given the sustained threat to United Nations personnel and others from asymmetric attacks ... and kidnappings," the report warned.

The humanitarian situation is also cause for concern, it said.

At the end of April, 3.6 million people were facing hunger, with 1.5 million severely malnourished, the report said. It warned that the number of starving people is expected to rise to 1.9 million this month.

 

© AFP 2017

   
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Africa
The United Nations has deployed only 74 percent of the authorized level of peacekeepers to Mali and has failed to send military helicopters to help the troops protect the West African nation from armed groups linked to al-Qaida, a new report says.
Mali, conflict, UN
395
2014-52-13
Friday, 13 Jun 2014 02:52 PM
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