Germany also ended its military mission in Mali. All thousands of German soldiers must have left the West African country by May 2024 at the latest. Germany’s mission in Mali has been in doubt for some time: Like other European countries, the country is at odds with the military junta in Bamako.
A government spokesman said the Germans would stay until 2024 to ensure a stable delivery. This is in light of the elections that will be held in February of that year. The Bundestag must still agree to finish the job.
About 1,000 soldiers are based in Mali, near the northern city of Gao, and were among the top 10 major contributors to the UN peacekeeping mission this year. Other European countries have already announced or completed their withdrawal. For example, last week the United Kingdom announced that it would bring 300 soldiers home.
France, a major player in the mission, announced it in February Take off in. In August, the last French soldiers left the country after nine years of presence. According to Paris, this had to do with the two coups that occurred in two years in Mali. Dutch forces left earlier.
Many European countries that have forces in Mali also oppose the presence of Russian Wagner Group mercenaries, including those in Gao. The United Nations accuses Wagner of carrying out executions, torture and disappearances in countries where the company operates, such as Syria.
According to the reading of the Military Council in Mali, these are Russian trainers who are helping with the weapons that Mali has bought from Russia. But Europe sees Wagner’s presence as an attempt to expand Russia’s sphere of influence.
End of aid from France
Before the weekend, France went further: Paris announced that it would end aid to Mali. Aid organizations will continue to receive French aid. But then the military junta declared that French relief organizations and organizations cooperating with France were no longer welcome in the country.
Hundreds of thousands of Malians depend on this assistance. Experts fear that Mali is becoming increasingly isolated due to the departure of Western countries.
years of assignment
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali was set up in 2013 after jihadist groups took over much of the country. Then the French army moved into the former French colony and managed to repel the jihadists. They received military support in the form of the international force MINUSMA. The UN mission consisted of 15,000 soldiers, including the Dutch.
The country has experienced three coups since 2012. Since the last coup in 2021, the country has been led by a pro-Russian military government. Dutch Lieutenant-General Kees Mathisen took command of the UN mission a year ago.
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