Controversy over death of Nigerian police officer on UN peacekeeping mission in Mali

Ogunsakin Mustapha
4 Min Read
SP Margaret Ayodele Cole

A Nigerian Police contingent member to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali(MINUSMA), Mrs Margaret Ayodele Cole has been reported dead in controversial circumstances in a hospital in the capital, Bamako after undergoing a minor knee surgery. The UN mission says investigations surrounding her death is ongoing.

SP Cole

Mrs Cole, a Superintendent of Police(SP) was deployed to Goa, according to a release by MINUSMA on Wednesday. “Ms Margaret Cole, a UN Security Officer, deployed in Goa died in Bamako this afternoon. Investigations are ongoing and the initial cause of death may be accidental. She died at the Golden Life Hospital in Bamako where she had gone in yesterday for a minor surgery on her right knee. Reportedly she was found lying on her bed, with blood on the sheets, unconscious and with a wound on her head;

The initial finding is that Ms Cole allegedly fell and hit her head on the round table, where the large blood stain was found. She might have died between 12:30hrs and 13:00hrs. MINUSMA was informed much later as the hospital didn’t know Ms Cole was a MINUSMA staff. The investigations are ongoing. Ms Cole was a Nigerian”.

SP Cole, after her knee surgery at the hospital in Bamako

The family members are however not satisfied that her death was an accident. Unknown to her employers Mrs Cole had on Tuesday sent pictures of herself on the hospital bed after her surgery which was successful, to members of her family. Her brother, Augustine Ojie in a message disputed the MINUSMA report. “Doesn’t look like there’s any round table that caused the head injury. From the picture, there is no way she can walk without somebody helping her. We suspect she was murdered. Justice for Margaret Ayodele Cole”.

The late Mrs Cole would have been 51 years old on December 31, 2020, having been born on December 31, 1969. She joined the Nigerian Police when she was 18 years old and rose through the ranks to the position of Superintendent of Police. At the same time, Mrs Cole also pursued academic excellence as she did part time studies at the Yaba College of Technology. Her primary place of assignment was the Lagos State Police Command where she was a member of the AO X- Squad.

She had served in Peacekeeping missions in many countries across the world including Kosovo, Haiti, and Mali where she met with her untimely and unfortunate death.

The late SP Cole

When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPPRO) Mr Frank Mba asked for time to get briefed on the incident. “There are different chains of communication. The peace keeping unit has its own full fledged directorate”, he said. He promised to get in touch as soon as he got properly briefed in the matter. However several hours later, Mr Mba did not get in touch. Calls to his phone were not answered.

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