General acknowledgement that the now finished United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in Mali was a difficult and life-threatening deployment can be judged from 311 MINUSMA personnel being killed along with 700 plus injured and/or wounded during its 10-year operational period.
Sunday 31 December marked the end of MINUSMA operations in the landlocked West African country, in line with a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution, following a mid-year request by the host country.
The weekend departure from Timbuktu marks closure of the first of three MINUSMA liquidation sites. Since mid-2023 the mission withdrew 1 867 military and 173 police personnel, as well as 226 civilian personnel from the historic city. All property of police and troop contributing countries (TCCs), as well as UN property, has been disposed of in compliance with UN financial rules and regulations.
A small team and rear parties from TCCs and police contributing countries remains at Bamako and Gao to oversee orderly movement of assets and, what a UN statement termed, “appropriate disposal” of UN-owned equipment.
The UN usually allows for around 18 months to fully liquidate a multidimensional peacekeeping mission with the MINUSMA Liquidation Entity “striving” to shorten this timeframe.
At the time of mission closure, MINUSMA had 13 289 military personnel on strength along with 1 920 police. The top 10 military contributors to the mission were Chad, Bangladesh, Senegal, Niger, Togo, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Germany and China.
UN agencies and programmes, alongside funding, will remain working toward restoration of the constitutional order and the promotion of peace and security. This will take place in collaboration with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the special co-ordinator for development in the Sahel. All told there will be 21 UN agencies active in Mali.