UN Security Council Approves Mali Peacekeeping Force

Over 12,000 UN troops will be stationed in Mali beginning in July after a resolution received unanimous approval from the UN Security Council.

The force will include over 6,000 West African soldiers already serving in Mali. The French, who proposed the resolution, will now leave 1,000 troops in the country to fight al-Qaeda related terrorist groups. France originally said they would be removing all 4,000 troops sent to Mali in January to stop the terrorists from overtaking the Malian government.

The official mission of the force is stated to protect “the key population centers, especially in the north of Mali… to deter threats, initiate and actively… take active effective… steps to prevent the return of armed elements to those areas.”

UN cost estimates place the price tag at $800 million a year for the force to remain in place and sufficiently supplied.

A major concern among military officials in the region is that terrorists have “gone to ground” in the nation waiting for French forces to leave the region. The new U.N. force will not have an offensive mandate and it’s feared they would be the target of multiple terrorist attacks.

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