While its drones are grounded, Berlin is examining the withdrawal of its troops specialized in reconnaissance missions. This announcement comes after those of the United Kingdom and Côte d’Ivoire, which have indicated they want to withdraw their quotas sooner than expected.
Germany announced on Monday, November 21, that it plans to withdraw its troops deployed in Mali in support of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
“We will decide by the end of the year whether and how we will engage in Mali and the wider Sahel region,” said German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht in an interview with local daily Rheinische Post. “
Within MINUSMA, our task is recognition. But our drones can no longer fly since October 11, because the Malian authorities refuse to allow them. So we cannot fulfill our mission. That is why we are now re-examining the participation of the Bundeswehr [German Army, NDRL] in this UN mission,” she added.
Berlin does not, however, seem to be considering a complete withdrawal from the Sahel region. “The federal government is asking how we can better support the region as a whole, for example, by strengthening our engagement in Niger,” Lambrecht said.
The announcement of a possible withdrawal of German troops from Mali comes in the wake of the announcement of the early withdrawal of UK troops from the country, motivated by the use of the Malian junta in power to the Russian paramilitary group Wagner.
In a letter sent to the United Nations on 11 November, the Ivorian authorities also announced the gradual withdrawal of their troops deployed in MINUSMA by August 2023
No official reason is given for this withdrawal, but relations between Côte d’Ivoire and Mali have deteriorated considerably in recent months, especially after the arrest in July of 49 Ivorian soldiers in Bamako. After three releases, 46 of them are still detained in Mali, which accuses them of being mercenaries while Abidjan assures that they should participate in the security of the German contingent of peacekeepers in Mali.
France, the main country intervening militarily in Mali, notably through the soldiers of the Barkhane force, had withdrawn the last detachment of its troops in the country in mid-August after the deterioration of relations between Bamako and Paris.
The Malian transitional government has become more hostile to Western military intervention in the country since Paris and its allies accused the Malian executive of securing the services of the Wagner group. The junta in power also attacked the MINUSMA several times orally, whose mandate was renewed in June for a year.
Source : Agence Ecofine