Gao has been particularly hard hit by violence: A suicide bomber blew up a car filled with explosives at a military camp there on Jan. 18, killing dozens of people.
The United Nations mission employs more than 12,000 uniformed personnel and 1,350 civilians, at an annual cost of $1 billion.
As of Aug. 31, the mission had recorded 133 fatalities, a particularly disturbing figure given that the mission is only four years old. Peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, Darfur, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia have seen more fatalities, but those missions have been going on for far longer — in some cases for decades.
At the United Nations headquarters on Wednesday, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Mali’s president since 2013, urged the General Assembly to maintain a commitment to Mali’s security, arguing that the militants were involved in international trafficking in drugs, people and weapons, as well as terrorism.
He also spoke favorably about a new counterterrorism force for the region that the Security Council authorized in June, after urging from France. The force is to be made up of 5,000 troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
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NYT > Africa