Germany suspends its peacekeeping patrols in Mali
The German army announces suspending its patrols in eastern Mali after failing to obtain permission to fly its aircraft.
Germany has again suspended its reconnaissance patrols in eastern Mali that are part of a UN peacekeeping mission after failing to get flyover rights, the military said Monday.
The permission is needed for flights between Gao, home to the German military's main base in Mali, and Niamey, the capital of neighboring Niger.
However, a spokesperson added that "we assume the necessary authorization will be issued soon."
Patrol operations had only resumed in early September, following a suspension on August 12.
The initial halt came after Mali's ruling military government denied permission for flights to support personnel rotation under the UN's MINUSMA mission.
About 1,100 soldiers from the German military are part of the UN mission.
The German troops are in part meant to make up for the withdrawal of French soldiers last month. France sent troops to the western African country in 2013, under the pretext of defeating extremist militants in northern Mali and the Sahel, which never happened considering the increasing number of operations targeting Malian forces. The operation ended in February following the deterioration of France's ties with its ex-colony.
Malians have repeatedly taken to the streets of the capital, Bamako, in demonstrations in support of the Malian Armed Forces. The demonstrators also voiced dissatisfaction with France's actions in the country, a former colony, especially after Malian troops reportedly found bodies buried near the base in the town of Gossi, which had been under the control of French forces until they handed it over to Mali.
Asked last week about the future of the German military presence in Mali, Chancellor Olaf Scholz indicated that his government was working on the matter "taking into account all factors."
First of all, "security of the soldiers has to be guaranteed -- this applies to the question of flyover rights, the question of using drones, the question of whether there is sufficient security to replace what the French were providing up until now," Scholz explained.
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