SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Mali has asked the United Nations to send a rapid-reaction force as it struggles to counter attacks against peacekeepers in the African nation.
On Wednesday, Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take “urgent measures” to protect members of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) in the country’s north.
Diop said that MINUSMA must have the “appropriate means to fulfill its mandate, protect civilians, and the blue helmets who are paying a high price on the ground, ” adding, “Perhaps the council should consider setting up a rapid intervention force that would be able to fight the terrorist elements.”
The request made by the Malian foreign minister comes as 31 UN peacekeepers have lost their lives in a series of attacks since the mission was deployed in July 2013. Nearly 70 others have also been injured.
The UNSC member states called on the Malian government to swiftly investigate the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.
On October 3, nine UN peacekeepers from the Nigerien contingent were killed.
Reports say the attacks are carried out by al-Qaeda-linked militant groups.
Mali slid into chaos after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup in March 2012.
The coup leaders said the move was in response to the government’s inability to contain a rebellion by Tuareg people in the north of the country.
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