Status: 08/03/2022 12:12 p.m.
For weeks, the military junta in Mali has issued new restrictions against the Bundeswehr. The latest: The A400M carrier is no longer authorized to fly over the country. According to observers, the government in Bamako would like to get rid of the UN troops.
The conditions under which German soldiers operate in Mali continue to deteriorate. The West African country’s government has withdrawn the A400M military carrier’s overflight permit. This was announced by the Bundeswehr Operations Command during a briefing to representatives of the Bundestag Defense Committee.
Without overflight permission, a complete rescue chain for the German MINUSMA contingent over Niger cannot be ensured. The background to the withdrawal is not known, he added.
More and more restrictions by Junta
The Bundeswehr is also affected by yesterday’s instruction from the Malian military government banning foreign soldiers from staying in part of the airport in the capital Bamako. There is also a UN base there. All soldiers – including 60 from the Bundeswehr – must therefore leave the premises of the company “Sahel Aviation Services” within 72 hours.
The junta’s announcement two weeks ago that it would initially ban personnel changes in MINUSMA contingents has also sparked resentment. The Bundeswehr then declared that the so-called personnel rotation – that is, the change of personnel in the MINUSMA contingents – would therefore remain suspended. Normally, the quota changes after four to six months on average. In total, up to 1,400 German soldiers are involved in the operation, which has been running since 2013. The next rotation is scheduled for September or October.
“Pinpricks” against Germany
“After the putschist Malian government has already complimented the French outside the country, the number of pin-pricks against us has increased significantly,” said FDP parliamentary group defense policy spokesman Alexander Müller. “It would be naive to believe that these are coincidences or misunderstandings.”
The Bundeswehr operation before the end?
Given the tensions with the military junta, the continued participation of the Bundeswehr in the UN mission MINUSMA, which aims to stabilize the country, is becoming increasingly questionable. The Department of Defense said, “The safety of our soldiers has the highest priority.” “The situation must be clarified immediately” as a precondition for further German involvement.
The Bundestag only extended German participation in MINUSMA in May. However, the new mandate also provides for the possibility of early termination if the safety of Bundeswehr soldiers is in question.
Military government loyal to Moscow
Mali, with around 20 million people, has experienced three military coups since 2012 and is considered extremely politically unstable. Since the last coup in May 2021, the country has been ruled by an interim military government which maintains close ties with Russia. Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group were therefore hired.