49 Ivory Coast soldiers who landed on Sunday and were arrested at the Bamako airport have been branded mercenaries by the military government in Mali.
The guys, according to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, MINUSMA, were a part of a team that regularly provided logistical assistance to MINUSMA’s Ivorian military component.
The case will be referred to the judiciary, according to the Mali administration.
The troops, who were detained allegedly lacked authorisation from the UN mission and were “all brought in two minibuses and then moved around 2000hrs inside the airport,” according to the aBamako website.
Maliactu website said in a Facebook post that the soldiers “were not carrying weapons” but “had luggage in the care of Minusma”.
According to the Malijet website, once the Ivorian soldiers failed to turn in their assignment instructions, Malian special forces were sent to protect the airport.
The Ivorian soldiers, according to social media users, were involved in an attempted takeover of the military-run administration in Mali.
Tensions between MINUSMA, whose mandate was recently extended for another year, and Mali’s junta are certain to escalate as a result of the claims.
They also occur at the same time that a well-known anti-France activist group launches a campaign to get the UN force expelled.
Militant attacks on peacekeepers and public hatred toward MINUSMA have increased recently.
Meanwhile, last week Wednesday, an improvised explosive device in northern Mali resulted in the deaths of two United Nations peacekeepers and severe injuries to five more, according to the UN peacekeeping operation.
Recall that over 130 civilians were killed last month in the villages of Diallassagou, Diaweli, and Dessagou in the Mopti region of central Mali.
Mali has been battling insurgency and militants attacks over the years with about thousands of people dying and many displaced.
In August 2020 and May 2021, Mali, a poor and landlocked country in the Sahel, experienced military coups.
Since 2012, when separatist and Islamist insurgencies erupted in the north, the political crisis has been accompanied by a significant security crisis.
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