.... Liberian soldiers, who have done outstanding service in Mali, would be leaving along with their counterparts from other countries as the West African nation’s military rulers have become ‘tired’ of the military ‘failure of the UN peacekeeping Mission known as MINUSMA s
Liberian soldiers who have been serving as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali are preparing to return home as the UN Security Council has voted to end its mission in the West African state.
The news comes nearly four months after Liberia’s Ministry of Defense had completed pre-deployment training for a new batch of soldiers, who were expected to be deployed in Mali. It is unclear whether that contingency has been deployed or not.
The UN decision to withdraw the peacekeeping troops comes after years of efforts to stabilize the country and improve its security situation which has been grappling with an insurgency for over a decade.
The U.N. Security Council in a vote yesterday adopted a French-drafted resolution, by a 15-0 vote, to terminate its MINUSMA peacekeeping mission, which has more than 15,000 personnel including the Liberian contingent.
According to the UN, the withdrawal is expected to start on July 2 and will be completed by the end of the year. The vote came two weeks after Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop stunned the Security Council by calling the UN operation known as MINUSMA a "failure" and urging its immediate end.
Mali's relations with the United Nations have deteriorated sharply since a 2020 coup brought to power a military regime which also severed defense cooperation with France, the former colonial power.
The country's armed forces, once notorious for their involvement in conflicts, have successfully transformed into a professional and disciplined military over the past two decades. This transformation has allowed Liberia to play a crucial role in maintaining peace and security across the African continent.
The UN created the MINUSMA mission to support the peace process in Mali, which was dealing with a severe political and security crisis. MINUSMA aimed to enhance security and stability while assisting the Malian government in the implementation of the peace agreement signed with the rebel groups that had been causing unrest in the country.
Liberia was among the countries that responded to the UN's call for peacekeepers in Mali. Since then, Liberian soldiers have tirelessly worked in remote and dangerous areas, conducting patrols, protecting civilians, and supporting the Malian armed forces in their efforts to fight against insurgents.
Their dedication, professionalism, and commitment to their duties have won the hearts and respect of the Malian people. Throughout their deployment, they have been praised for their discipline and their ability to adapt to challenging conditions.
Liberia is the 60th largest contributor among all UN Member States with 162 soldiers in Mali —working in very challenging security conditions — and carrying out patrols to assess the security situation, deter violence against local communities, and also provide security to UN facilities.
One of its soldiers occupies the position of chief personnel of the MINUSMA mission and, in 2018, a Liberian officer served as the Senior Military Observer — making him 3rd in command — of the Mission.
The MINUSMA mission holds Liberia’s largest deployment but soldiers are serving the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).