After almost eleven years, the UN peacekeeping mission of the Bundeswehr in Mali, West Africa, is scheduled to end on May 31, 2024. The federal cabinet decided to withdraw the 1,100 soldiers stationed there by that date. If the Bundestag also agrees, the currently largest foreign deployment of the German armed forces in one year will be history.
The Bundeswehr continues to train soldiers in Niger
At the same time, the federal government wants to realign its commitment in the Sahel zone south of the Sahara. Civilian support for the region is to be intensified and security cooperation focused on Niger, Mauritania and the Gulf of Guinea states in West Africa. The Bundeswehr continues to train soldiers in Niger. “The recent escalation in Sudan has shown us how suddenly the instability of a country can become an existential threat to the lives of our citizens,” said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said: “If states in the Sahel crumble, then we will also feel the earthquake here in Europe. That is why we will continue to support the people in the region in the future – civilly and militarily.” Development Minister Svenja Schulze pointed out that development aid could help to remove the breeding ground for terrorism. “Many people in the Sahel don’t join terrorist groups out of conviction, but because they need an income.”
1600 sea containers are needed
Since mid-2013, the Bundeswehr has been involved in the UN mission MINUSMA to stabilize Mali, parts of which fell into the hands of Islamist terrorists in 2012. In the camp of the German blue helmets in Mali, preparations for the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr have already started. About 1600 sea containers are needed to bring material and weapons back to Germany.
The Bundeswehr’s mission was repeatedly obstructed by the military junta in Mali, which is considered to be close to Russia. They refused permission to fly the Heron reconnaissance drone operated by the Germans on behalf of the United Nations. One of the main tasks given to the Germans by the UN is to obtain information in this way.
nob/sti (dpa, afp, rtr, epd)