“Better equipped” contingents could help avert peacekeeper deaths in Mali

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UN Security Council Chamber. UN File Photo/Manuel Elias

Nineteen peacekeepers have been killed in Mali over a four-month period, the head of the UN mission in the country, MINUSMA, told the Security Council on Thursday.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif said perhaps many of the deaths of blue helmets and other forces in the country could have been averted  if they were "better equipped."

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Annadif pointed out that MINUSMA, which was established in 2013, is the “most deadly” UN operation today. 

He reported that the security situation in Mali had worsened in recent weeks.

Nineteen peacekeepers were killed in terrorist attacks between February and May, while another eight people at the mission died due to disease, accidents and other causes.

He said these figures are “atrocious,” adding that they rise even higher when losses sustained by the national security forces and French troops in the country are taken into account.

“As I have had to say many times: so much of this loss of life could have been avoided if the contingents were better equipped, in particular with APCs (armoured personnel carriers). Furthermore, the attack on a MINUSMA convoy on 29 May, the International Day of blue helmets, is a tragic illustration that the terrorist threat is spreading increasingly towards the centre and the south. This trend is fraught with the risk of contagion and certainly should not be forgotten.”

Mr Annadif stressed the importance of strengthening the UN mission with personnel, equipment and air cover.

This, he said, could save lives.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'28″

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