United Kingdom Armed Forces Minister Heappey has announced today that its forward deployed troops in Mali, as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will withdraw. Minister Heappey told the Parliament that the Chinook helicopter support and special forces deployed to Mali would be withdrawn. Although the three year deployment was supposed to conclude on schedule, the troops are being withdrawn nearly six months early.
The UK is now one of the half-dozen European countries to pull support from Mail including France, Germany, Sweden, and others. While the nearly 15,000 man force still has support from several dozen other countries with the largest support from Chad, Bangladesh, and Senegal, the lack of European firepower will only make the security situation worse for the people of Mali.
This power gap has left the door open for Russia who has inserted Wagner PMC forces into the country to provide security and training. However, Wagner’s activities have been marred in controversy in the face of extrajudicial killings, torture, civilian targeting, and rape. China also continues to contribute more than 400 peacekeepers to the mission, opening the door for greater Chinese influence on the fledgling government.
The relationship between European powers and the Mali military Junta has deteriorated since 2021 when two coups in the span of ten months exacerbated the already straining tensions. With the withdrawal of British forces, the future of the mission remains in a tenuous balance.
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali is a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. MINUSMA was established on 25 April 2013 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2100 to stabilize the country after the Tuareg rebellion of 2012. It was officially deployed on 1 July, and has become the UN’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission, with 209 peacekeepers killed out of a force of about 15,200. (Wiki)