MINUSMA withdraws from Tessalit in Kidal region
Bamako, October 22, 2023 - The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has completed its accelerated withdrawal from its Tessalit base in the Kidal region of northern Mali, in an extremely tense and deteriorating security context that put the lives of its personnel at risk. The closure of the Tessalit camp marks MINUSMA's first withdrawal from the Kidal region and is the sixth MINUSMA base to be closed under Security Council resolution 2690, which ends MINUSMA's mandate on 30 June 2023.
The withdrawal took place according to schedule, but under extremely tense security conditions, with MINUSMA personnel in Tessalit forced to take shelter in bunkers on several occasions due to gunfire, including on 19 October, when a MINUSMA C130 was hit in the wing as it landed in Tessalit, fortunately without any injuries or major damage to the aircraft.
Part of the soldiers from the Chadian contingent were repatriated directly to Ndjamena on aircrafts chartered by their country. Meanwhile, the other contingents present in Tessalit, such as the Nepalese Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, the Cambodian engineers and the Bangladeshi airfield services and management unit, all left on UN aircraft. The remaining personnel departed for Gao in a final ground convoy on 21 October, ending the Mission's presence in Tessalit.
Before its departure, MINUSMA had to take the difficult decision to destroy, deactivate or decommission valuable equipment, such as vehicles, ammunition, generators and other assets, because they could not be returned to the troop-contributing countries to which they belonged or redeployed to other UN peacekeeping missions. This decision, which is a last resort in accordance with UN rules and procedures, is due to the fact that 200 trucks that were to travel to the Kidal region to collect this equipment have been in Gao since 24 September due to a lack of authorization from the authorities in view of the security situation.