Mali authorities have ordered Olivier Salgado, the spokesman of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, to leave the country.
MINUSMA was given 72 hours to leave over “tendentious and unacceptable” posts he made concerning a controversy involving Ivorian troops, Mali’s foreign ministry said in a statement received by AFP on Wednesday.
The move follows the military government’s suspension of the rotation of United Nations military and police forces. The mandate of the UN mission in the country was renewed in June.
Earlier, on Sunday July 10, 2022, Mali arrested 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast. MINUSMA said it believed that the troops were part of a unit that provided routine logistical support to the DR Congo military contingent.
But the Mali government said the soldiers provided varying reasons for their presence in the country – including that they were carrying out a “confidential mission” and that they were “protecting Germany’s MINUSMA contingent”.
Thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in a jihadist campaign that began in northern Mali in 2012 and spread to Niger and Burkina Faso three years later.
Colonels angry at the government’s handling of the insurgency seized power in August 2020 and carried out another coup in May 2021.
Their takeover triggered a long standoff with the regional bloc ECOWAS over a timetable for restoring civilian rule.