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Ivorian soldiers were arrested on Sunday 10 July 2022 in the early afternoon at Bamako airport. Since then alarmist and even conspiratorial messages have been circulating on social media, presenting them as heavily armed mercenaries who have come to destabilize the country. These soldiers actually belong to the Ivorian regular army. According to the Ivorian army, they had to secure the sites of Minusma, the United Nations Mission.

They belong to the 8th detachment of the NSE (National support element). It is a picture of the Ivorian general staff that makes it clear: these 49 soldiers arrived in Bamako on Sunday at noon, aboard the same plane that had brought the previous detachment back to Abidjan the same morning. Two planes even, to be precise, one carrying the men, the other the material. ” It is an unfortunate misunderstanding Explains this senior officer of the Ivorian army, who assures us that everything was in order upon their arrival.

According to the Ivorian army, however, it is the administrative problems that are invoked by the Malian authorities. ” First, they said the plane was not on the list of planes allowed to land. This problem was resolved quicklycontinues this source, but now they say our soldiers did not have a proper mission letter. When asked by RFI, neither the Malian army nor the Malian Ministry of Defense wanted to answer. The 49 Ivorian soldiers spent the night in detention. The problem is not solved yet.

A Danish precedent

According to the explanations of the Ivorian army, these soldiers are there in the picture of the Ivorian contribution to Minusma. They are seconded to a private company, SAS, Sahel Aviation Service, which is itself a subcontractor of the United Nations mission. Run by a German, this company usually works in the sub-region for NGOs, mining groups or even the United Nations. In any case, this is what its website specifies since, supported by RFI, the company SAS confirmed that it had mobilized on the case of the Ivorian soldiers, but did not want to provide any details.

According to the Ivorian army, the soldiers arrested in Bamako should secure the Minusma sites, in particular at the Bamako airport, but also in “ logistic warehouses “The United Nations Mission also declined to comment at this stage. This case is reminiscent that of the Danish army : last January they arrived in Mali as part of the Takuba force, following the usual procedures. The Malian authorities had considered that these procedures were no longer sufficient to guarantee their “ consent and forced them to go home.

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