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Mali expels Minusma spokesperson over tweets on Ivorian soldiers detained in the country

President-Colonel Assimi Goïta on January 20,2022.   -  
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Mali's military authorities dismissed Wednesday, the spokesperson for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (Minusma).

UN representative Olivier Salgado is given 72 hours to leave the Sahelian nation. In a statement, Malian the government cited "tendentious and unacceptable" posts he made on Twitter regarding the case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali on Sunday, July 10.

The Foreign ministry statement slammed Salgado's posts as remaarks: "declaring without any proof that the Malian authorities had been previously informed" of the 49 soldiers arrival.

Two aircrafts carrying the Ivorian contingent landed in Bamako's airport. According to a statement from the Ivory Coast government issued on July 12, the soldiers operate "under an agreement signed in July 2019 between Ivory Coast and the United Nations, and in accordance with a security and logistical support contract signed with the Société Sahel Aviation Service (SAS)".

The Malian government considers them mercenaries which embarked "with weapons of war".

A costly mission

The incident takes place against a backdrop of problems in Mali.

Thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in a jihadist campaign which began in northern part of the country in 2012 and then spread to Niger and Burkina Faso three years later.

MINUSMA, launched in 2013, is one of the UN's biggest peacekeeping operations, with 17,609 troops, police, civilians and volunteers deployed as of April, according to the mission's website. It is also one of the most dangerous UN missions, with 275 fatalities from attacks, accidents or other causes, according to the website.

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