The spokesman of the U.N. mission in Mali on Friday confirmed that Egypt will suspend its activities in the west African nation, citing that the safety of peacekeepers is a priority.
“We confirm that Egypt, through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, expressed its concern at the beginning of the week at the increase in attacks against its peacekeepers who escort the convoys supplying our bases in the center and northern Mali," said Olivier Salgado said in a statement.
“We have been informed that as a result, the Egyptian contingent will temporarily suspend its activities within MINUSMA as of August 15,” he added in a statement.
Egypt is currently providing 24 staff officers and around 1,030 troops to the UN operation in Mali which has struggled to contain an Islamic extremist insurgency since 2012.
Extremist rebels were forced from power in Mali’s northern cities with the help of a French-led military operation, but they regrouped in the desert and began attacking the Malian army and its allies. Insecurity has worsened with attacks in the northern and central regions on civilians and U.N. peacekeepers.
The U.N. force has said more than 250 of its peacekeepers and personnel have died since 2013, making Mali the deadliest of the U.N.’s dozen peacekeeping missions worldwide.