UN Warns of Volatile Security Situation in Mali

The security situation in Mali remains quite volatile, marked by pockets of terrorist violence, with devastating consequences for civilians, the top UN official there said earlier this week.

El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, briefed the Security Council on major developments in the West African country over the past three months.

Mr. Wane updated ambassadors on the peace process, and advances in the transition to civilian rule following the coup of three years ago, but began by focusing on insecurity, amid rising humanitarian needs.

He said the security crisis in the northeast region of Ménaka has worsened, recalling that he had first sounded the alarm last year.

Since January, there has been a resurgence in fighting between the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and the militant jihadist group JNIM. The extremists are competing to extend their spheres of influence and control supply lines, he said, while engaging in constant attacks against civilians.

Meanwhile, Gao and the central region of Mali have also seen confrontations between ISGS and JNIM. Some armed groups that signed the peace deal have also been involved in fighting against the ISIL offshoot, he added.

Given the situation, the adoption and recent launch of the Government’s three-year stabilization strategy for the center, was an important step, he said, stating that MINUSMA supported the development of the strategy and will assist with its implementation.

In light of the security challenges, Mr. Wane underscored the need for closer coordination between the Malian forces and the UN Mission. He welcomed recent steps taken at the regional level, which he said must be enhanced.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network