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Malian authorities on Wednesday ordered the Olivier Salgado, the spokesman of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, to leave the country within 72 hours.

The move comes after Mali’s military government ordered the temporary suspension of troop rotations by MINUSMA.

Mali has been at odds with its neighbors since the military seized power in August 2020. The recent arrest of the Ivorian soldiers further increased tensions between Mali and its neighbor Ivory Coast.

Why is Mali expelling MINUSMA spokesman?

Mali claimed that the 49 Ivorian soldiers were “mercenaries” who sought to topple the country’s junta.

They were arrested after arriving at Bamako airport aboard a special flight.

In turn, Salgado said the soldiers were working for a German company contracted by MINUSMA.

A Malian Foreign Ministry statement said the expulsion was due to social media posts.

“This measure follows the series of contentious and unacceptable publications by the person assigned to social networks declaring, without any proof, that Malian authorities were informed ahead of time of the arrival of 49 Ivorian military soldiers,” the ministry said.

The UN, meanwhile, said it “deeply regrets” the requested departure of Olivier Salgado, MINUSMA’s deputy director of communications.