Business Maverick

Business Maverick

UN Ends Peacekeeping Mission in Mali With Wagner Group Set to Fill Void

UN Ends Peacekeeping Mission in Mali With Wagner Group Set to Fill Void
GAO, MALI - MARCH 07: A Bangladeshi United Nations soldier walks by a car during the weekly cattle market on March 7, 2017 in Gao, Mali. Each week locals and Touareg nomads gather at the market to trade their cattle including Camels, Cows, Sheep and clothing. U.N.-led MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission) troops are assisting the Malian government in its struggle against rebels that include a Tuareg movement (MNLA) and several Islamic armed groups, among them Al-Qaeda, in the north of Mali. Rebels have conducted a series of terror attacks to destabilize the current government in recent years. The Bundeswehr has committed helicopters and 750 soldiers to the MINUSMA mission as well as 147 soldiers to the EUTM mission (European Trainings Mission Mali) to train government troops. In mid-April the Bundeswehr is to deploy four «Tiger«combat helicopter. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

The UN Security Council voted to end a 13,000-strong peacekeeping mission in Mali, leaving the poorly equipped army and a smaller force of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries to contend with militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The council voted unanimously in favor of a French-sponsored resolution to end the mission by January 2024 after Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop demanded the peacekeepers leave. He said the peacekeepers had failed and Malians no longer trusted them.

The decision leaves the army and about 1,500 Wagner troops to contend with militants, who occupied some parts of the country in 2012 and were later dislodged by French troops, but have since regained a foothold. More than 170 peacekeepers have died, making it the UN’s deadliest active peacekeeping mission.

“The UN didn’t always manage to do what it came here to do — that is protecting civilians,” said Attaye Ag Mohamed, a member of la Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad, one of the signatories of a 2015 peace accord between northern separatist groups and the government. “But at least it prevented an already bad situation from getting worse.”

Wagner’s Mutiny Creates New Questions About Its Business Empire

It’s not clear how Mali plans to fill the void left by the UN troops. But it will provide an opportunity for Wagner, whose chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, led an unsuccessful revolt against Russia’s military leadership. Prigozhin agreed to leave Russia for Belarus and Wagner’s fate is unclear, but earlier Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said African nations where Wagner operates should decide for themselves whether to continue cooperation.

John Lechner, an independent researcher currently writing a book on Wagner, said it was too soon to say if the group would expand operations, in part because the Malian government “is perhaps more concerned in the short term with political legitimacy than with territorial control.”

“The UN has a responsibility to minimize the risk that its assets fall into the hands of those looking to destabilize Mali or bring harm to its people, including violent extremist organizations and the Wagner Group,” a representative for US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after the vote.



Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

[%% img-description %%]

The Spy Bill: An autocratic roadmap to State Capture 2.0

Join Heidi Swart in conversation with Anton Harber and Marianne Merten as they discuss a concerning push to pass a controversial “Spy Bill” into law by May 2024. Tues 5 Dec at 12pm, live, online and free of charge.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options