Mali: Growing Trend of Violence Against UN Peacekeepers

On 2 October 2021, a United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeeper died and four others were seriously injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in Tessalit, Kidal region. Strongly condemning the incident, Mr El-Ghassim Wane, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of MINUSMA, remarked that, “this incident is a sad reminder of the permanent danger that hangs over our peacekeepers and of the sacrifices made for peace in Mali.”1 The worsening security situation in Mali is fuelled by political instability and economic crisis.

As per UN official statistics, 255 peacekeepers have lost their lives in Mali as part of MINUSMA, as on 31 August 2021.2 The growing trend of attacks on international entities besides the government units and civilians in Mali is an issue of serious concern. Against this backdrop, this commentary provides an insight into the security situation in Mali and attempts to explore the questions—What do the terrorists and insurgent groups in Mali seek? Why has the violence increased? Why have peacekeepers been targeted frequently?

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Source: Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses