On Friday, the UN mission in Mali handed over one of its last camps in the country to the national authorities before the end of its definitive withdrawal, as demanded by the ruling junta, a Minusma spokeswoman said.
Minusma handed over to the Malian authorities the Mopti camp in the center of the country, one of the hotbeds of jihadism and violence that have been bloodying the Sahel for years.
The handover went off without a hitch, unlike the recent handover of camps in the north, where the Minusma had precipitated its departure under the pressure of military escalation between the army and armed groups, said Fatoumata Kaba in a written message to AFP.
The camp was most recently home to peacekeepers from Bangladesh and Togo. In the past, it has also hosted Egyptian, Pakistani and Senegalese contingents.
With the disengagement from Mopti, Minusma enters the home stretch. The UN Security Council has given it until December 31 to complete its withdrawal.
On Monday, Minusma is organizing a ceremony to close its headquarters on the outskirts of the capital Bamako. This ceremony will mark the end of the mission, said Fatoumata Kaba.
The colonels who took power by force in 2020 in Bamako demanded in June, after months of deteriorating relations, the immediate departure of the Minusma deployed since 2013 in this country in the grip of a deep multidimensional crisis. The Security Council terminated the mission's mandate on June 30.
Since then, the Minusma, whose strength has hovered around 15,000 soldiers and police officers and whose more than 180 members have been killed in hostile acts, has staggered the handovers. It has yet to close the sites in Bamako, Gao and Timbuktu (north), where what the UN calls the "liquidation" of the mission will take place after January 1. This will involve, for example, handing over the last remaining equipment to the authorities or terminating existing contracts.
As of Friday, more than 10,500 uniformed and civilian Minusma personnel had left Mali, out of a total of around 13,800 at the start of the withdrawal, Minusma said on X (ex-Twitter).