Mali Expels UN Peacekeeper Spokesman

Mali has expelled the spokesman for the United Nations’ (UN’s) peacekeeping force in the country over social media posts concerning the presence of Ivorian troops. 

Olivier Salgado, the spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping force, MINUSMA, was told to leave the country by Malian authorities on Wednesday and return within 72 hours.

The action follows an order from Mali’s military administration for MINUSMA to temporarily halt troop rotations.

Salgado, who is a French national, was involved in the issue over the detention of 49 Ivory Coast soldiers who arrived at Bamako airport on July 10. 

The troops have been accused by the authorities of being “mercenaries,” as they lack entry authorization or mission directives.

Salgado was charged by the foreign ministry for tweets that “said without any fact that the Malian authorities had been previously informed” of their arrival.

The expulsion took place as friction has grown between Mali’s military government and the foreign allies that are supporting the country in its fight against Islamists.

In August 2020, the military ousted the government, and Mali has been at war with its neighbors ever since. 

The recent detention of the Ivorian soldiers has increased tensions between Mali and its neighbor, Ivory Coast.

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