The Dutch contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is withdrawing its seven helicopters from the operation by spring, leaving a wide hole in reconnaissance and intelligence gathering for the mission that desperately needs those assets. With no immediate supplier for replacement helicopters in sight, the withdrawal presents an additional strain on the mission, known as Minusma, which faces major deadly challenges from terrorists and transnational crime as well as clashes among armed groups in north and central Mali.

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