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Mali throws high-ranking UN official out of the country over dispute over Russian mercenaries


The military government speaks of "imposture": In Mali, a top official of the United Nations has to leave the country within 48 hours. The dispute is apparently also about Russian units in the country.

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This picture is supposed to show Russian mercenaries in Mali (French military handout)

Photo: AP

Mali's military government has declared the director of the human rights department of the UN mission Minusma an undesirable person in the country.

The UN official Guillaume Ngefa-Atondoko Andali had to leave the national territory within 48 hours, according to a government statement published on Sunday evening.

The junta accused Andali of “destabilizing and subversive acts”.

He chose "impostors" as civil society representatives of Mali for meetings of the UN Security Council and "ignored the national authorities and institutions", most recently at the meeting on January 27th.

A representative of civil society had complained about violence by terrorists and human rights violations by the Malian military and its "Russian partners" before the highest body of the United Nations.

The Malian government accused Andali of a "conspiracy" to denigrate the country.

"We regret the Malian government's decision, but Minusma will continue to exercise its mandate, including with regard to human rights," a senior UN official in New York told the dpa news agency on Sunday (local time).

Mali, with its approximately 20 million inhabitants, is considered to be extremely unstable politically.

Since the most recent coup in May 2021, it has been run by a military government that has been criticized by western countries for its close ties with Russia, among other things.

As part of the UN mission MINUSMA, more than 1,100 men and women from the Bundeswehr are currently deployed in Mali.

However, there were repeated disputes with the government of General Assimi Goita.

Hundreds of people believed to have been executed

UN human rights experts are calling for an independent investigation into possible war crimes in Mali by government forces and the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

The experts said last Tuesday that they had received "continuous and alarming reports" of rights violations by the Malian armed forces and their allies since 2021.

Among them are "terrible executions, mass graves, torture, rape" and other crimes.

The group was particularly concerned about reports of mass executions in March last year in the village of Moura in central Mali.

According to human rights experts, Malian forces, accompanied by militiamen believed to be members of the Wagner group, "executed several hundred people who had been rounded up".

Also because of the presence of the Wagner mercenaries in Mali and the government's lack of willingness to cooperate, there is currently discussion in Germany as to whether the Bundeswehr should end its mission earlier than planned.

In November, the federal government decided to withdraw the mission until May next year - but made it dependent on German drones being given permission to fly.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-02-06

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