JNIM Claims Responsibility for Attacks Targetting Withdrawing MINUSMA Troops from Mali, 22 Injured

As this publication reported in October, Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) forces are rapidly withdrawing from Northern Mali. We reported that the retreat from Tessalit on October 22nd was fired on by unknown militants. However, in the last seven days, another hasty MINUSMA withdrawal, this time from Kidal, has amounted to even more casualties after several JNIM IED attacks on UN convoys.

On October 30th, MINUSMA announced it was preparing for its final withdrawal from Kidal, a major base in Northeast Mali. By October 31st, the withdrawal was complete, much to the chagrin of the Malian government.

The hasty withdrawal drew praise from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MLNA) which claimed that the UN was demonstrating the “respect of the international community for the cause of Azawad.”

The MLNA is a political and military organization based in Azawad in northern Mali which has battled the Malian government since 2011 when it seized much of Northern Mali with the help of Ansar Dine a Salafi jihadist group led by Iyad Ag Ghal. However, in 2012, tensions between the group resulted in the Battle of Gao which prompted French intervention.

The MLNA views UN withdrawal as a step to regain control over Northern Mali. The Malian government decried the rapid UN withdrawal as a danger to stability and security in the region, despite Mali requests for UN to honor Security Council resolution 2690 which ended MINUSMA’s mandate on 30 June 2023.

On October 31st the withdrawing peacekeepers were struck by several IEDs and at least eight personnel were injured. JNIM immediately claimed responsibility:

The group then again claimed responsibility for a second attack on November 2nd. By November 3rd, the Malian government responded with airstrikes against JNIM in Kidal. As of this publication, 22 UN Peacekeepers were reportedly injured in the attacks. The convoy is still en route to Gao.

 

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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