Service and Sacrifice: Guinean peacekeepers make their mark in Mali

MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko The Guinean contingent of MINUSMA ensures the security of the MINUSMA camp, through the observation and monitoring of strategic points around the city of Kidal, in Northern Mali, called Galaxies.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


As the sun rises over Mali’s vast desert, a group of 20 peacekeepers prepare their equipment and line up to receive instructions before heading out for their first patrol of the day on one of the most dangerous roads in the region.

They are Guinean Blue Helmets from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) based in the volatile town of Kidal, in the north.

Following the outbreak of the conflict in 2012, explosive hazards and complex attacks have become a new threat in the country, with wide ranging and detrimental effects on the safety and freedom of movement in the central and northern parts of Mali.

“Dropping your guard can be fatal” – Guinean Blue Helmet

Among other activities, the Guinean contingent ensures the safety of the civilian population, thanks to its monitoring of the vehicles which return through checkpoints to the city of Kidal.

They are ready. Guinean peacekeepers climb into two armoured personnel carriers (APC), that would rumble out of the UN base soon.

For Guinean Sergeant Mamady Keita, the threat of landmines is always present, “No mission can be done without our presence, the road is sandy and easy for the insurgents to hide explosive devices underground, “he said standing outside his APC, his best defence during the operation.

Under a blazing sun the temperature is reaching its peak, the so-called ‘Search and Detect’ Guinean team, on foot, carefully search for explosive devices and hiding places for these bombs, looking at the sandy roads.  “Out here, dropping your guard can be fatal, there is always a chance that the situation gets a turn to the worst”, Lieutenant Maurice Brehemon said.

All Guinean soldiers, like all military contingents joining  MINUSMA, have to go through intense in-country pre-deployment training on explosive threats and risks. They must be prepared for anything when they arrive in Mali.

These pre-deployment training measures help to better equip the peacekeepers with skills to protect them, help them protect others and improve resilience and safety to aid in the delivery of MINUSMA’s mandate.

The job comes with daily challenges. This morning patrol was uneventful, and the Blue Helmets returned safe and sound to the base. But the next day, a UN vehicle ran over a mine. Fourteen peacekeepers were injured.

Almost 850 peacekeepers from Guinea are serving in Mali. Guinea is one of the largest contributing countries to MINUSMA. Mamady knows he is risking his life while promoting peace. Guinea is a neighbour country with strong ties to Mali. Its soldiers are often called “brothers in arms” in a regional sense.

Established in 2013, MINUSMA supports the Malian peace agreement by helping to restore the State authority, advance diplomacy, strengthen security and promote human rights.

Fully committed for peace

Every day the women and men of the United Nations mission in Mali are on the frontline to protect civilians and promote peace in one of the most challenging missions in the world. Since July 2013, 103 peacekeepers have been killed in hostile incidents.

For Pelagie Diawara, one of the 16 women of the Guinean battalion, the beginning of her first mission with the United Nations was difficult. She missed her family and the intense desert heat was a challenge. “It was a tough decision to leave my family, but I am proud to be here in this neighbouring country to help our brothers and sisters from Mali to make peace in this country. “

Between landmines and improvised explosive devices, driving on the roads of northern Mali is a dangerous exercise.  Today, some 14,000 UN peacekeepers from more than 56 countries are serving in Mali.

These women and men are working in an extremely dangerous environment, far away from their families, and very conscious of how their personal sacrifice is crucial to helping build a durable peace.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Prospect of negotiated peace in Afghanistan ‘never been more real’ – UN mission chief

Trust is at breaking point. It’s time to rebuild it

South Sudan famine threat: UN food security agency in ‘race against time’

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health

A vaccination race between nations can have no winners

Independent Ethics Body: improving transparency and integrity in EU institutions

Is co-living an answer to the affordable housing crisis?

Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Transgaz to facilitate natural gas exports from Romania

The ‘ASEAN way’: what it is, how it must change for the future

6 things to know about coronavirus today, 1 April

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

UN General Assembly urges greater protection for Palestinians, deplores Israel’s ‘excessive’ use of force

Coronavirus Global Response: WHO and Commission launch the Facilitation Council to strengthen global collaboration

Iraq needs support to ‘leave violent past behind’, says UN envoy as Security Council extends UN mission for one year

The circular economy could forever change how cars are made – here’s how

Anxiety disorders and their relationship with COVID-19

Tobacco in Pakistan: is it worth to burn your money?

European businesses must balance digital with sustainability. Here’s how

In Tokyo, UN chief expresses full support for US-Japan dialogue with North Korea

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

What the buoyant US economy means for the rest of the world

Tougher defence tools against unfair imports to protect EU jobs and industry

Can autonomous cars make traffic jams a thing of the past?

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

On Youth Participation: Are we active citizens?

5 things you might not know about Leonardo da Vinci

Eurozone hasn’t escaped the deflation danger

Vendor Pulse – 2000

My experience living with depression and schizophrenia in Thailand

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

Draghi rehabs ECB into a tool to support growth and employment; a departure from Teutonic orthodoxy

To hope or doubt? The state of women’s progress in the world

India’s strategy in space is changing. Here’s why

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

It’s time for cybersecurity to go pro bono

We need to talk about how we define responsibility online – and how we enforce it

Road use charges: reforms aim to improve fairness and environmental protection

Investing in nature gives industry and business a competitive advantage. Here’s why

Public Policies for LGBT in Brazil

These are the world’s most positive countries

Does the sharing economy truly know how to share?

Commission presents EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements for signature and conclusion

European Commission Joint Research Centre opens world-class laboratories to researchers

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

6 ways data sharing can shape a better future

COVID-19: EU helps deliver vaccines to Kosovo

A Valentine’s Special: giving back, a dialogue of love

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

EU Parliament says ‘no’ to austerity budget

The world’s economy is only 9% circular. We must be bolder about saving resources

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

New General Assembly President brings ‘valuable insights’ into key UN challenges

Yemen blast kills 14 children, leaves others fighting for their lives in Sana’a

“Sorry mom it’s not our day”: the true refugee story of a young doctor and his family forced to flee their home

Why collaboration is key to global reforestation efforts

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

European Commission issues first emission of EU SURE social bonds

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: