News / Africa

UN: Recent Security Incidents in Mali ‘Wake-up Call’

Troops of the French-led Serval Operation in Mali patrol an area in Gao, Oct.16, 2013.
Troops of the French-led Serval Operation in Mali patrol an area in Gao, Oct.16, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The head of the U.N. mission in Mali said recent security incidents are an “important wake-up call” and urged the Security Council to enable the rapid deployment of additional troops and helicopters to the mission.

Bert Koenders welcomed progress in Mali, including recent presidential elections and moves toward national reconciliation talks, but said serious threats to peace and security remain, including recent attacks by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the militant group MUJAO.

“In addition to the security threat from the armed groups and terrorists which mainly affected the northern regions, the authorities had to contend with tensions within the armed forces,” said Koenders.

He said an incident earlier this month involving about 30 disgruntled soldiers who kidnapped two officers was peacefully resolved, but is a reminder of the urgent need for reestablishing discipline and the chain-of-command in the army.

The U.N. stabilization mission in Mali began on July 1, taking over and absorbing troops from an African-led force.

A recent report by the U.N. Secretary-General said mission, known as MINUSMA, has just over 5,200 troops. That is less than half of the 12,600 troops authorized by the Security Council.

The report also says at least two more infantry battalions and a special forces company are needed, as well as military helicopters.  Without these assets, the Secretary-General said, he expects it will take longer for the force to reach full operational capability.

Mission chief Koenders echoed this request in his remarks to the council. “I call on the members of this council, and troop and police contributing countries, to do their utmost to enable the rapid deployment of additional enablers and battalions to Mali in order for MINUSMA to effectively and timely discharge its mandate,” he said.

Mali’s minister of national reconciliation and development of the northern regions, Cheick Oumar Diarrah, told the Council that Mali is now on the path toward building rule of law and fighting corruption and impunity.  But he warned that terrorists, armed groups, jihadists and organized criminal gangs are a threat to the fragile peace and stability in the north and to the entire Sahel region.

Both the Malian minister and Koenders drew attention to the worrying humanitarian situation.  There are still hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons who fled their homes in the north where armed groups seized control for several months last year.  

The United Nations warns 3.5 million people are food insecure in the country and a humanitarian appeal is less than half-funded, with a $300 million shortfall.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid