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MINUSMA reinforcements will enable new forward base concept

The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) needs additional personnel in part so it can implement a new forward operating base concept, according to a UN Secretary-General report released on 23 July.

The report was requested by the UN Security Council to provide more detail of a proposed increase in MINUSMA's authorised strength by 2,069 (1,730 military and 339 police).

“The additional uniformed capacities would be used to expand the reach and mobility of the mission in an integrated manner through a forward operating base concept,” it said. “That concept involves an integrated, reinforced, and provisioned temporary operating base, currently being used by the mission, that can be projected from main bases to areas of interest for up to three months to protect civilians and support a Malian-led stabilisation strategy, while providing a higher level of protection to mission personnel than temporary operating bases.”

It said that three new quick reaction companies, each with 250 personnel and equipped with mine-protected vehicles and supported by a combat engineer company with 117 personnel, could be used either as response forces or “as key components in the implementation of the forward operating base concept”.

The increase in the mission's strength would also cover the two military helicopter units that would together have up to 10 helicopters and 260 personnel. These would be deployed to Mopti and Douentza in Sector Centre, with a 30-strong aviation support unit, also deployed at Douentza.

The report said these helicopter units could be deployed in January 2023 at the earliest due to the time it will take to develop the necessary infrastructure.

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