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Mali: Bundeswehr machine has to turn to Gran Canaria

2022-01-19T22:13:18.854Z

The military junta in Mali has been hampering the UN mission in the country for days with flight bans. Now a Bundeswehr aircraft was spontaneously denied an overflight. Its use in West Africa is becoming more and more questionable.



Enlarge image

A Luftwaffe A400M military transporter in Wunstorf (symbol image)

Photo: Holger Hollemann/ dpa

The clashes between the Malian military government and the international troops deployed in the country are becoming increasingly heated.

On Wednesday evening, the local authorities denied a German A400M military transporter with 75 soldiers an overflight.

The machine that started in Wunstorf had to turn spontaneously to Gran Canaria.

The A400M was actually supposed to fly to the capital of neighboring Niger.

In military circles there was talk of a process that had never happened before.

Germany had applied for and approved the flight of the A400M in advance.

The fact that the aircraft was now prohibited from continuing its flight shortly before reaching Malian airspace can be understood as a provocation.

The scandal illustrates how questionable the further deployment of the Bundeswehr in Mali is now.

Apparently as a kind of declaration of war on France, the military junta led by a colonel banned all flights over Mali last Thursday, even though thousands of international soldiers are stationed there with the UN mission »Minusma«.

The ban can also be understood as a tit-for-tat response to the sanctions imposed on Mali by the West African economic community »Ecowas«.

The neighboring countries had largely isolated Mali because the regime had postponed planned new elections indefinitely.

1300 soldiers stationed

In Mali, the Bundeswehr is involved both in the UN mission »Minusma« and in an EU training mission for the local army.

Around 1,300 German soldiers are currently stationed in the country.

The Bundeswehr has been struggling with the concrete effects of the flight ban for days.

Aside from the supply flights, the launches of the reconnaissance drone »Heron«, which is used to secure the camp and for patrols, are also affected.

As an immediate measure, the Bundeswehr ordered that no German soldiers should leave the camp in Gao for the time being.

The mission has more or less come to a standstill.

Curiously, putschist Colonel Goitta broadcast conciliatory tones shortly after the scandal.

Goitta said on Twitter that he had a long talk with the UN Secretary-General on Wednesday.

Goitta underlined "our commitment to the return to a normal, peaceful and constitutional order".

He also encouraged the UN to remain engaged in the country.

military coup last year

The situation in Mali has been deteriorating for months.

In early summer 2021, the military around Colonel Assimi Goïta staged a coup for the second time and installed themselves as an interim government.

At first there was talk of quick new elections in spring 2022.

But then Goitta announced at the end of last year that they wanted to take up to five years to hold a democratic election.

Since then, not only the federal government has been wondering whether the stabilization mission in Mali can be continued.

The mission's mandate must be renewed soon.

The new Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht, SPD, has already made quite clear statements about the future of the mission.

In her inaugural speech in the Bundestag, she recently called for a quick return to democracy, otherwise the deployment of the Bundeswehr would be in jeopardy.

Aside from the delay in the election, the nations involved in Mali are also upset because the putschists brought the Russian “Wagner Group” into the country.

The mercenaries are said to be supporting the Malian army in the fight against terrorism.

In Berlin and Paris, however, it is believed that Moscow wants to use the mercenaries to increase its influence in Mali.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-01-19

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