Ivorian soldiers detained: Mali orders the departure of “foreign forces” from an airport base

#Ivory Coast : Mali ordered the departure within 72 hours of “foreign forces” from a base at Bamako airport, a base serving as a logistics hub for foreign soldiers, including the UN.

This ultimatum comes a few weeks after the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers linked to this base.

All the «foreign forces» present on the base of the company Sahel Aviation Services (SAS) within the confines of Bamako airport, must leave «within seventy-two hours»says an official letter from Aéroports du Mali to SAS, dated Monday, received and authenticated Tuesday by AFP.

«Accommodation and hospitality» of foreign soldiers on this base «creates risks for internal and external security» of Mali, judge Aéroports du Mali, and were not provided for in the agreement for the use of the said database signed in 2018.

Contacted, SAS, a private airline that operates flights in the Sahel region, did not respond.

>>> READ ALSO: Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali: the UN recognizes “dysfunctions”

The SAS base at Bamako airport serves as «logistics base» for several international partners of Mali, including Ivorian soldiers but also German, Austrian, Belgian, Swedish or even Pakistani soldiers deployed within international missions, in particular the UN, said mid-July the Ivorian staff.

According to the German Ministry of Defense in mid-July, the SAS base at the airport was secured by Ivorian soldiers.

The July 10 arrest in Mali of 49 of them at Bamako airport deployed, according to Abidjan, within the framework of a UN procedure in support of their contingents, while Mali described them as «mercenaries»triggered a diplomatic crisis between Bamako, Abidjan and the UN.

The spokesperson for the UN mission in Mali was expelled after being accused by Bamako of having published «fake news» on this case on July 11.

>>> READ ALSO: Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali: Malian and Ivorian delegations received by the Togolese mediator

The exact role of these soldiers arrested and still detained remains unclear: according to Abidjan, they were National Support Elements (ENS), a UN procedure allowing peacekeeping mission contingents to call on external service providers to logistical support.

But in addition to an agreement signed in July 2019 between Abidjan and the UN concerning their presence in Mali, another contract «services» was signed with SAS, according to the Ivorian general staff.

Mediation was launched by Togo in Lomé to «find a quick fix» to this situation.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.