Mali prevents eight soldiers from Germany from leaving the country after suspension of MINUSMA rotations

Archive – Soldier of the German Army – SACHELLE BABBAR / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Malian authorities have prevented eight soldiers from Germany from leaving the country, according to German Defense Ministry sources, a day after Bamako announced the suspension of the rotation of troops of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in the midst of the controversy over the detention of 49 Ivorian soldiers at the capital’s airport.

Defense Ministry sources quoted by the German news agency DPA have indicated that the eight soldiers were unable to board their flight on Thursday, after which the Malian authorities pointed to difficulties concerning their documentation. In this regard, the German sources said that it was a case of harassment.

Germany has military personnel deployed in the framework of MINUSMA, whose mandate was recently extended by the UN Security Council despite some criticism from Bamako, and in the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM), although the latter are in the process of being withdrawn along with those of France’s operation ‘Barkhane’ due to tensions with the military junta.

MINUSMA spokesman Olivier Salgado said Thursday that they are willing to hold talks with Bamako. «The rotation of troops is important and crucial for the operational effectiveness of the mission, as well as the safety and security of personnel. Every effort must be made to reach a solution, especially after the relief of some members a few months ago,» he said.

Tensions have been running high in recent months over the military junta’s announcement to prolong the transition process and the alleged deployment of Wagner Group mercenaries, something that has been denied by Bamako and Moscow, which speak of regular military cooperation.

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