UK withdraws 300 troops from UN mission in Mali
The UK accuses the host country's government of lacking the will to "work with us to deliver lasting stability and security."
UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces James Heappey told Parliament on Monday that the UK is withdrawing its troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
"I can announce that the UK contingent will... now be leaving the MINUSMA mission earlier than planned," Defense Minister James Heappey told parliament, referring to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
"Two coups in three years have undermined international efforts to advance peace," he said.
"This government cannot deploy our nation's military to provide security when the host country's government is not willing to work with us to deliver lasting stability and security."
The Minister blamed Mali's relations with the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner group and the latter's alleged interference with the UN's peacekeeping mission.
"The Malian government's partnership with Wagner group is counterproductive to lasting stability and security in their region," he claimed.
Nine months after France announced its withdrawal from Mali, Ministers have finally decided to follow suit.— John Healey MP (@JohnHealey_MP) November 14, 2022
Yet we lack any UK strategy for the Sahel, which has become a new epicentre for terrorism. Ministers must fill this Sahel shaped-gap in the review of the Integrated Review pic.twitter.com/jzok9MieuN
Heappey further claimed that the troop retreats are in no way signaling that the UK is abandoning its security commitments to the region.
"We've been working closely with our allies to consider options for rebalancing our deployment alongside France, the EU, and other like-minded allies," he told MPs.
On a suspicious note, he added, "The UK will continue its commitment to Mali and the Sahel through our humanitarian, stabilization, and development assistance, working in close coordination with partners," hinting at the possibilities of unwarranted western military intervention.
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Junta authorities initially denied having connections to Wagner's group and later acknowledged logistical support from Russian military "instructors".
In December 2020, the UK deployed 300 troops to Mali as part of a supposed anti-jihadist peacekeeping mission.
They were scheduled to stay for three years, but they now have six months to leave the country as per orders of the ministry.
But this is not the first time that Mali kicks out Western armed forces.
On September 19, the German army announced suspending its patrols in eastern Mali after failing to obtain permission to fly its aircraft.
And on January, Denmark announced it will start pulling its troops out of Mali after the junta ordered them to leave.
Malians have a deep sense of resentment toward the West, because, for years, some of the world's major armed forces roamed the country with the stated goal of fighting off Jihadi forces, yet to no avail. Nothing was actually done on the ground.
To believe that they were all there for the security and tranquility of the Malians was a indeed deceitful farce.
As the vast majority of Muslims across the world are convinced that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are a western invention, that resentment is further intensified in Mali after years of failing to contain the insurgencies, prompting Mali, as well as several other African nations, to turn to Russia for prompt support.
Read more: Mali, Burkina Faso leaders agree to strengthen military cooperation
Earlier this year, it was announced that Mali had kicked out French Barkhane troops from its territory.
The reasons were plenty but mainly involved the French getting caught conducting operations of espionage and sabotage by Junta forces.
On October 19, Mali's Foreign Affairs Minister Abdoulaye Diop said the military government will exercise its right to self-defense if France continues to undermine the country's territorial sovereignty and security.
Diop doubly accused France of violating Malian airspace and delivering weapons to Islamist militants that have been crippling the country for the past decade, which France has denied.
The Minister also denied allegations of violations of human rights by the Malian army, which were reported by the UN and other groups.
Malian soldiers were accused of torturing and killing civilians that were suspected to be in contact with jihadists.
Calling the allegations "unfounded" and warning against "instrumentalizing" human rights issues, Diop stressed that the withdrawal of foreign troops will not trigger a security vacuum.
Read more: Russia, Mali reaffirm strengthening security cooperation in Sahel