Germany to suspend replacing French forces in Mali
As French forces withdraw from Mali in the midst of the country's insurgency, Germany was set to deploy its forces to Mali but has decided to suspend its operations. Mali has since called on Russia for support to fight the terrorist attacks.
The German defense ministry announced on Friday it had suspended the majority of its operations in Mali after the local military-led government denied flyover rights to a UN peacekeeping mission amid constant attacks against UN missions, causing numerous withdrawals like that of Egypt.
A ministry spokesman said at a press conference that the Malian government refused once again to give flyover rights to a flight planned today for the rotation of personnel on the ground.
Germany was to replace France in Mali
Germany responded by deciding to "suspend until further notice the operations of our reconnaissance forces and CH-53 (helicopter) transport flights".
"It is no longer possible to support the MINUSMA reconnaissance missions on an operational basis," the spokesman added.
The spokesman announced that without the new troops planned to "replace the French forces" withdrawing after Mali’s discontent of France’s violations in the country, "security on site is not assured" as the "remaining forces must be kept ready for security operations".
The flyover rights were refused despite assurances to the contrary from Malian Defense Minister Sadio Camara in a call with German counterpart Christine Lambrecht on Thursday, according to the spokesman.
Lambrecht said in a statement posted by her ministry on Twitter that "Camara's actions tell a different story than his words…”
The German move to suspend military activities comes following Mali's junta turned away from France and toward Russia for support in its fight against terrorist-led groups that have already claimed attacks across the country. In the most recent attack, the death toll reached 42 as Malian soldiers were targeted in Tessit.
The long-running insurgency has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes, as the ties between Bamako and Paris, its former colonial power and traditional ally, deteriorated in recent months.
Read more: The history of French intervention in Mali
The arrival of Russian paramilitaries on Mali soil per the invitation of the government was a prominent factor in France's decision to pull its military forces out. The withdrawal is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.