The German Army, on Thursday dispatched a civilian airplane from Cologne to rotate troops in Mali, after authorities in the West African state finally granted permission, a German military spokesperson told dpa.
The plane took off with 88 soldiers from the UN mission MINUSMA and five soldiers from the EU training mission EUTM Mali on board, sources close to German parliament said in a briefing.
Mali’s provisional military government suspended troop rotations for the UN mission on July 14. Thursday’s flight is the first one enabling troop rotations for Germans since then, according to the parliamentary sources.
The plansis for the plane to also fly German soldiers from Mali back to Germany.
However, Mali, with a population of around 20 million, has experienced three military coups since 2012 and is considered politically extremely unstable.
Since the most recent coup in May 2021, it has been led by a military government that has been criticised by Western countries for close relations with Russia.
The German civilian flight was an alternative to the flight with a military aircraft, which the transitional government of Mali would not allow.
Meanwhile, Germany has been participating in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), a peacekeeping force established to boost security after the Tuareg Rebellion of 2012, an early stage of the ongoing armed conflict in the country.
Berlin last week announced that it was suspending its military operations after the government of Mali repeatedly denied the Bundeswehr over flight rights, which it needs to facilitate troop rotation.
Germany, Mali trade accusations as relationship shows strains Germany, Mali trade accusations as relationship shows strains RelationshipBerlin, July 20, 2022 German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht has called on Mali’s military government to clarify the basis for the German-led UN stabilisation mission’s presence in the country.
Lambrecht made the call in an interview with the German media on Tuesday.
This is happening after a series of incidents that threatened to strain ties between Bamako and Berlin.
“Before the next rotation, it must be ensured that German soldiers can enter the country and also leave it again,” Lambrecht said.
She said she had been “very irritated by the events of the past few days – from the detention of soldiers from Côte d’Ivoire to the ambiguities surrounding the departure for some Bundeswehr soldiers, and to the questioning of the rotation of UN troops.” The Malian government had earlier demanded clarification on the relationship between the German government and 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast arrested in the Malian capital last week.
The Ivorian soldiers were detained on July 10 for allegedly entering the country illegally, destabilising the Malian government, and being mercenaries.
However, according to the German Defence Ministry, the troops have been deployed in the country since 2019, with the knowledge and approval of Malian authorities, to guard a UN base at Bamako airport.
Ties between Berlin and Bamako have been strained since a military coup in Mali last year, though the situation has further deteriorated in recent months, with the military government in Mali declaring that it would not permit any personnel changes to the international forces in the country for the time being.
On Thursday, eight members of the German Armed Forces were prevented from boarding a civilian flight by Malian authorities in an act Berlin termed “harassment.” The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is a peacekeeping force established to boost security in Mali after the Tuareg Rebellion of 2012, an early stage of the ongoing armed conflict in the country.
The Bundeswehr is involved in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
However, the European training mission EUTM has been largely halted.
The plan is now to focus on operations in the neighbouring country of Niger, where German soldiers are already training local forces.
Malian authorities have prevented eight German soldiers from leaving the West African state, German Defense Ministry sources said on Friday.
Members of the Bundeswehr were unable to board a flight on Thursday, which had been previously booked with a civil airline.
Malian authorities reportedly said there were difficulties with the missing documents, according to German ministry sources, who said the move was considered harassment.
Earlier this week, Mali's military government sparked outrage over the arrest of some 50 soldiers from neighboring Côte d'Ivoire, who had been involved in the UN mission in Mali.
Bamako suspended all transfers of international forces on Thursday.
Effective immediately, there would be no exchange of military or police personnel within the framework of the UN mission.
This also affected routine rotations that had already been planned and approved.
Mali, with a population of about 20 million, had suffered three military coups since 2012.
Since the last one in May 2021, the country was run by a transitional military government, which had been criticized for its close relations with Russia.
The military junta had promised elections for the end of March 2024.
For years, Islamist terrorist groups have been causing unrest in the country.
The German military was still involved in the MINUSMA mission in Mali, but the EU's EUTM training mission was to be largely halted.
On July 16, the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) turns ten years old. Over the past decade, the mission has contributed to strengthening Somali institutional capacities in the maritime and policing domains, and has made progress on legal reform and the rule of law.
First established as EUCAP Nestor, a regional civil maritime capacity-building mission focused on counter-piracy, in July 2012, the mission was renamed EUCAP Somalia in 2016, with a focus on the Somali-based partner in Mogadishu. Currently the mission is made up of 173 members and benefits from the direct contribution of 15 European countries that are seconding some of the personnel.
The mission is part of the EU's comprehensive approach to Somalia and was launched to complement the other two EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) operations: the EUTM Somalia military training mission and the EUNAVFOR anti-piracy operation. Atalanta.
“EUCAP Somalia provided maritime authorities with the necessary skills and equipment to carry out a basic coastguard role. Away from the coast, he also helped train some 700 federal Darwish, a robust police force with a mandate to secure territories free from Al Shabbah control. Today, Somalia still faces enormous internal security challenges. But thanks to our CSDP efforts, piracy is no longer a major threat to international shipping off the Horn of Africa”, underlined AR/VR Josep Borrell on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the CSDP in May 2022.
Certainly, the achievements of the mission were only possible thanks to the fruitful collaboration with Somali actors, including the Ministry of Internal Security (MoIS), the Ministry of Port and Maritime Transport, the Somali Police Force (SPF), the Maritime Administration Somali (SMA), INTERPOL, National Central Bureau (NCB). Additionally, with other international partners such as UNODC, UNSOM, UNOPS, IMO and INTERPOL.
In the maritime field, the mission has provided ship-in-a-box search and seizure training facilities, training and equipment in the three main ports (Mogadishu, Bossaso and Berbera) and has contributed to the construction of the Somali Police Force Maritime Unit Headquarters in Mogadishu in collaboration with EU partners.
The Mission has also strengthened the capacity of the Somali Maritime Administration (SMA) to establish the framework for its initial operational capabilities, with the provision of technical maritime services, and supported the accession and incorporation of international maritime conventions into the legal framework of Somalia. More recently, EUCAP Somalia was the first EU mission to deploy a specialized team to provide tailored maritime training, including on how to maintain maritime equipment.
In the policing arena, together with other international partners, the mission has promoted police development and increased the interoperability of the Somali security forces.
At a strategic level, the Mission has contributed to the review of the Somali Transition Plan 2021-2022 in light of the withdrawal of the African Union Forces (AMISOM) and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), with a focus on the transition from “army to police” to better provision of security through civilian police.
The Mission has been working with the Somali INTERPOL NCB to increase its capacity in combating transnational organized crime and achieve compliance with INTERPOL's 19 policies, of which 11 have already been met. The Mission is also supporting the development of the Action Plan for the Empowerment of Women in the Maritime and Maritime Sector. The plan was consolidated and endorsed by the Somali Ministry of Women and Family Affairs (MoWFA) and is being implemented at the federal and federal member state levels.
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone, thanks to the hard work and dedication, but also thanks to the fruitful collaboration and commitment of Somali institutions,” said Chris Reynolds, EUCAP Somalia Head of Mission.
The mission is undergoing a strategic review to assess progress and identify needs and areas of support for the next mandate, beginning in January 2023, with the aim of continuing to build on its achievements in the coming years, strengthening its mandate and fostering capabilities of the Police and Maritime Security sectors.
German leader Scholz visits troops in Niger
German leader Scholz visits troops in Niger
Berlin, May 23, 2022 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited soldiers stationed in Niger Republic on Monday, the second day of his Africa trip, local media reported.
German marine commandos are training Nigerien Special Forces at a military base in Tillia to fight Islamist militants in the region.
About 200 German soldiers are involved in the mission, which has been operational since 2018 and is part of the EU training mission EUTM.
On Friday, the German lower House of Parliament voted to end the Bundeswehr’s participation in the same EU scheme in neighboring Mali.
By contrast, the German training of Nigerien soldiers will continue until the end of the year.
After his visit to the base, Scholz plans political talks in the capital Niamey.
The security situation is precarious in the entire Sahel region, which stretches south of the Sahara desert from the Atlantic to the Red Sea.
Several armed groups are active there and some have sworn allegiance to Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.
The instability is one reason why thousands of people from the region are making their way to Europe. (
Senegalese President Macky Sall urged Germany on Monday to keep its troops in Mali, amid uncertainty over its future in the fragile Sahelian country after France announced a military withdrawal.
The call came at a news conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was visiting the West African state.
“Mali cannot be abandoned. You have to maintain your presence in the Sahel. Africa needs it,” Sall said.
Germany has 1,170 soldiers deployed as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.
But France announced last week that it would withdraw thousands of troops from Mali, casting doubt on the future of Germany's military commitment.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said she is "sceptical" about continued participation in the EU training mission and questioned whether Germany should continue to engage with MINUSMA without France's support.
Sall, who is also the current president of the African Union, said on Monday that "we need European forces, MINUSMA and Germany in Mali."
Senegal shares a long border with Mali, a vast and ethnically diverse nation of 21 million people.
Steinmeier told the news conference that "Germany must remain present in a way that contributes to the stability of the Sahel."
But he added that the final decision rests with Germany's parliament, which must decide whether to extend the country's participation in MINUSMA and EUTM Mali in May.
Mali has been struggling to contain a brutal jihadist insurgency that first emerged in 2012, before spreading to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians have died and two million people have been displaced by the conflict in the Sahel, of which Mali remains the epicenter.
France announced a military withdrawal last week due to a dispute with Mali's military junta, which took power in 2020 and has since defied international calls to quickly restore civilian rule.
Source Credit: TheGuardian
France announced on Thursday that it was withdrawing troops from Mali due to the breakdown of relations with the country's ruling junta, after almost 10 years of fighting the jihadist insurgency.
The deployment to Mali has been fraught with problems for France: of the 53 French soldiers who died serving in the Sahel region of West Africa, 48 of them died in Mali.
The "multiple obstructions" of the military junta that took power in August 2020 meant that the conditions were no longer there to operate in Mali, says a statement signed by France and its African and European allies.
The decision applies both to the 2,400 French troops in Mali, where France first deployed in 2013, and to a smaller European force of several hundred soldiers, called Takuba, which was created in 2020 with the aim of easing the charge of the French forces.
"We cannot remain militarily engaged alongside de facto authorities whose strategy and hidden objectives we do not share," President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference, saying he "completely" rejected the idea that France had failed in the country.
Macron said France's bases in Gossi, Menaka and Gao in Mali will close in the next four to six months.
But, he promised, the withdrawal would be done in an "orderly" manner.
The announcement comes at a critical moment for Macron, just days before the president is expected to make a long-awaited declaration that he will run for a second term in elections in April.
Macron's priority now will be to ensure that the withdrawal does not invite comparisons with the chaotic US exit from Afghanistan last year.
France initially deployed the troops against the jihadists at the request of Mali in 2013.
But the insurgency was never completely quelled.
Jihadists scattered by French firepower regrouped and two years later moved into central Mali, an ethnic tinderbox, before launching raids into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Now, new fears of a jihadist advance into the Gulf of Guinea have surfaced.
"It is an inglorious end to an armed intervention that began with euphoria and ends, nine years later, in a context of crisis between Mali and France," wrote the French newspaper Le Monde.
Macron denied that the intervention was in vain.
“What would have happened in 2013 if France had not chosen to intervene? Surely you would have had the collapse of the Malian state,” he said, praising his predecessor Francois Hollande's decision to deploy troops.
However, even after Mali's withdrawal, France and its allies promised to remain engaged in the fight against terrorism in the region, including Niger and the Gulf of Guinea, adding that the outline of this action would be clarified in June.
Speaking alongside Macron, Senegalese President Macky Sall said that combating "terrorism in the Sahel cannot be the exclusive concern of African countries."
Macron warned that al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group had made the nations of the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea "a priority for their expansion strategy."
Macron announced that Takuba's forces in Mali would be redeployed along with Nigerien forces near the Malian border.
Around 25,000 foreign troops are currently deployed in the Sahel.
They include around 4,600 French soldiers, although France had already announced the start of a drawdown last year.
The spokesman for the chief of the Army General Staff, Colonel Pascal Ianni, said that the withdrawal from Mali would mean that within six months there would be between 2,500 and 3,000 French soldiers deployed in the region. At its height, there were 5,400 soldiers on the mission, known as Barkhane.
Specifically in Mali, there is also the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, established in 2013, and EUTM Mali, an EU military training mission for the Malian army.
Macron said that France would still provide air and medical support to MINUSMA in the coming months before handing over these responsibilities.
Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for MINUSMA, told AFP that France's withdrawal "would have to affect" the mission and that the UN "would take the necessary measures to adapt."
In Berlin, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said she was "very skeptical" that the country's EUTM mission could continue in light of the French decision.
Relations between France and Mali plummeted after the junta led by strongman Assimi Goita refused to stick to a timetable for returning to civilian rule.
The West also accuses Mali of using the services of the controversial Russian mercenary group Wagner to bolster its position, a move that gives Moscow a new foothold in the region.
Macron accused Wagner of sending more than 800 fighters to the country for the sake of his own "business interests" and propping up the junta.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said London would discuss with allies the future of Britain's presence in the UN force, acknowledging that Wagner was "effectively in bed with the junta that now runs Mali."
Source Credit: TheGuardian
This is the third assistance measure adopted by the Council since the creation of the European Peace FacilityBRUSSELS, Belgium, November 19, 2021 / APO Group / -
The Council today adopted a decision establishing an aid measure of 40 million euros under the European Peace Facility (EPF) in favor of the Republic of Mozambique. This assistance measure complements an emergency measure in the amount of 4 million euros approved by the Council under the EPF on July 30, 2021 for the most urgent equipment.
With the measure decided today, the EU will support the Mozambican military units formed by the EU Military Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique) and allow them to conduct security operations in the northern province of the country of Cabo Delgado.
The assistance measure will notably provide adequate and non-lethal equipment to strengthen the capacities of the first companies of the Mozambican army which should be the first to benefit from the training of EUTM Mozambique. This includes individual and collective equipment, ground mobility means, technical tools and a field hospital.
The provision of assistance will be subject to compliance by the units formed by the EUTM of the Mozambican Armed Forces with relevant international law, in particular international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as with relevant instruments. relevant legal and best practices based on and EU rules, standards and policies in the field of the supply of military equipment.
The assistance measure will cover part of the duration of the EUTM's mandate. In 2021 partial support packages will be provided to the two companies currently in training by Portugal while from 2022 three more companies will receive support. A total of 11 Mozambican Army and Navy companies will be formed by EUTM in multiple batches and subsequently form a rapid reaction force.
Today's decision follows the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mozambique in her letter of August 27, 2021 to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
This is the third assistance measure adopted by the Council since the creation of the European Peace Facility.
On 22 July 2021, the Council adopted an assistance measure in the form of a general program of support to the African Union (AU) in the second half of 2021, with a budget of 130 million euros. Support to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army has been approved under this general program.
On 4 November 2021, the Council adopted an assistance measure to support capacity building within the Humanitarian Demining Battalion of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a reference amount of € 10 million. As part of this assistance measure, the EU will provide 68 medical and transport vehicles, as well as 150 metal detectors to help Bosnia and Herzegovina become fully demined by 2027.
With regard to Mozambique, on July 30, 2021, the Council approved an emergency measure under the European Peace Facility in the amount of € 4 million to provide the most urgent equipment and supplies to two Mozambican companies which should be the first to benefit from the training of EUTM Mozambique. The aid measure adopted today is based on this first support package.
The mandate of the mission is expected to last two yearsBRUSSELS, Belgium, October 15, 2021 / APO Group / -
The Council today adopted a decision launching the European Union Military Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique). The mission will support a more effective and efficient response of the Mozambican armed forces to the crisis in Cabo Delgado province, providing them with training and capacity building.
EUTM MOZ will become operational as soon as the ongoing transfer of the Portuguese Armed Forces training project is completed and is expected to reach full operational capacity by mid-December 2021. It will be supported by around 140 military personnel divided between two centers training. - one for the training of commandos and one for the marines.
The common costs for EUTM Mozambique, to be covered through the European Peace Facility, have been estimated at € 15.16 million for a period of two years. In addition, the Council approved on 30 July an emergency assistance measure under the European Peace Facility for a total amount of € 4 million to complement the training of military units through the provision of individual and collective non-lethal equipment.
The mandate of the mission is expected to last two years. During this period, its strategic objective is to support the capacity building of units of the Mozambican armed forces that will be part of a future Rapid Reaction Force. In particular, the mission will provide military training including operational readiness, specialized training on counterterrorism, and training and education on the protection of civilians - especially women and girls in conflict -, and will ensure respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law. The mission has a non-executive mandate and will not participate in military operations.
The mission is open to the participation of third States.
The Mission Commander is the Director of Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, while Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires is the EU Mission Force Commander and leads the field mission. The MPCC is the mission headquarters, responsible for the operational planning and conduct of EUTM Mozambique.
On July 12, 2021, the Council adopted a decision establishing EUTM Mozambique. This decision was the EU's response to the Mozambican authorities' request for increased EU engagement in the areas of peace and security. In his letter of 3 June 2021, the President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, welcomed the deployment of an EU non-executive military training mission on the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) in the country .
EUTM Mozambique will contribute to the EU's integrated approach to Cabo Delgado, as well as to peacebuilding, conflict prevention and support for dialogue, humanitarian aid and development cooperation , as well as the promotion of the agenda for women, peace and security.