MINUSMA shuts down its final base in Mali’s Kidal area

MINUSMA, the United Nations mission in Mali, announced Tuesday the end of its presence in the country’s northeast Kidal region. The withdrawal from Kidal marked the eighth of 13 MINUSMA bases in Mali left behind ahead of a December 31 deadline for all UN peacekeepers to leave the country.

“The last MINUSMA flight from Kidal reached Gao late yesterday afternoon,” said MINUSMA. The last road convoy of peacekeepers also left Kidal for Gao, with two IED attacks causing damage along their route. Armed Tuareg fighters from Mali’s north immediately claimed they had taken over the base.

Troops from Chad left from Aguelhok and Tessalit, above, over a week ago.

“The conditions of departure from all these bases were extremely difficult and challenging, for a variety of reasons,” said MINUSMA, citing the deteriorating security situation. MINUSMA also destroyed trucks and equipment, some of it contributed by nations participating in the mission, that it was unable to ship out of Mali.

So far, almost 6,000 civilian and uniformed personnel have left Mali, said MINUSMA in a statement. The decision to leave Mali, made in June, followed those made by individual nations that contributed force troops including Germany, the United Kingdom, and Côte d’Ivoire. France began its troop drawdown in Mali in 2022.

Mali leader Col. Assimi Goïta, along with the leaders of Burkina Faso and Niger, signed in September a new security agreement for mutual defense. All three leaders have taken office following military coups that occurred amid opposition to Western intervention in the Sahel region.


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