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The United Nations force is struggling to fulfill its missions on the ground, and the action of its representative in Bamako, deemed too conciliatory with the junta led by Colonel Assimi Goïta, is the subject of internal criticism.

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A German soldier from Minusma, on the road linking Gao to Gossi, in Mali, in 2018.

Should the blue helmets stay in Mali, despite the paralysis of their action, or leave the country at the risk of abandoning the civilians exposed to the actions of jihadist groups? At United Nations headquarters, the question is being asked as discussions begin in New York on the future of the Mission for Stabilization in Mali (Minusma). The Security Council must decide in June whether to extend its presence in the Sahelian country.

Deployed in 2013 to restore state authority and protect civilians in the north of the country, Minusma was immediately criticized for its effectiveness. But, since the coups d’etat perpetrated in August 2020 and May 2021 and the coming to power of soldiers at the head of the country, it is blatantly struggling to fulfill its mission. The blue helmets face open hostility from the junta led by Colonel Like Goita.

In the sights of the Malian colonels: the division responsible for investigating the question of human rights. Faced with the hostility of the junta, it has difficulty in working, as illustrated in recent weeks by the tensions surrounding the report of the investigation into the Moura massacre. This village in the center of the country was the scene of one of the worst massacres since the beginning of the war. Nearly 300 civilians were “summarily executed” between March 27 and 31, 2022, according to the NGO Human Rights Watch, which implicates the Malian armed forces (FAMa) and “foreign soldiers, identified by several sources as Russians”.

A drama on which the Minusma managed to investigate despite the obstacles: its main investigator was “arrested in Mopti [dans le centre du Mali]by the intelligence services and the military, while he was interviewing survivors of the massacre”, according to an inside source. Its report, however, has still not been made public, more than a year after the events. On April 12, during a meeting in New York, several member states of the Security Council openly expressed concern. The American representative, like other members of Western delegations, demanded the publication of the document. But the Malian junta seems determined to delay its publication by putting pressure on Minusma. The military leaders in Bamako first expressly requested “not to make public the report on this massacre”, according to the internal source of the United Nations. Then Abdoulaye Diop, the Malian foreign minister, would then have “affirmed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that Minusma had paid Moura’s witnesses to name the army as responsible for the killing”during a trip to Geneva in December 2022. Contacted, the Malian diplomat did not respond to requests from the Monde.

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