AU donates 13 vehicles to Malian security forces


The African Union Mission in Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) has donated 13 vehicles to the Malian government as part of cefforts to strengthen the logistical capabilities of the various security organs engaged in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.

The vehicles were handed over to Malian Interior and Security minister Sada Samake by AU representative for Mali and the Sahel Pierre Buyoya on 14 July in the capital Bamako. The 13 pick-ups trucks are the first part of a consignment of 20 vehicles which will eventually include four ambulances and three heavy duty trucks.

In a statement, the AU said the donation underlines its commitment to peace in Mali and the broader Sahel region where nearly all the countries are battling instability resulting from the activities of several armed, localised rebel groups and transnational Islamist militant groups loosely allied to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

This donation is valued at one million U.S. dollars, equivalent to 481,642,430 CFA francs.

Buyoya reiterated AU’s commitment to support the Malian authorities in their efforts towards the restoration of peace and stability in their country.
“Security in the Sahel region constitutes one of the three main pillars of the AU Strategy for the Sahel. This includes the promotion of collective security in the region, through the Nouakchott Process, which is an initiative that brings together eleven countries of the Sahel region, including Mali,” the AU said in a statement.

Buyoya said the AU is working on several other initiatives aimed at promoting security in the Sahel region. These include programmes for enhanced information exchanges among the security and intelligence services of regional powers and the establishment of operational mechanisms to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime.

In addition to equipping Malian security services, the AU says it will continue to push for peace in the country by supporting the ongoing inter-Malian inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation efforts.

Mali descended into civil war and anarchy in 2012 when the Tuareg separatist movement the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) defeated government forces and occupied northern Mali.

The situation descended into chaos when Islamist militant group AQIM and its allies defeated the MNLA, leading to the French military intervention which has largely defeated the Islamist groups and confined them to pockets of desert territory in the north.

Last week, France announced that it is winding down military operations in Mali and re-deploying the troops to a broader, long-term campaign against Islamist militant groups in the Sahel. The French force of 3 000 men will be focused on fighting militant groups in Mali, Chad and Niger.