After France’s withdrawal from Mali, it is now Germany’s turn to leave the country too. According to a recent report, Germany is planning to withdraw its soldiers from Mali within nine to 12 months, as the country prepares to fully withdraw its troops by 2024. The move comes as jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State group have made significant advances to take Tidermene in the southeastern part of the country, further isolating the regional capital of Menaka.
Germany decision to withdraw its troops is part of a broader trend among European countries that have been scaling back their military presence in Mali and other parts of Africa. This trend has been driven in part by growing anti-western sentiments in the region.
Germany withdraws troops from Mali
According to the report, the withdrawal does not signify an end to development aid. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and Development Minister Svenja Schulze made this clear during their joint visit to the German contingent of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) in Gao.
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The announcement of Germany’s withdrawal from Mali by May 2024 comes as authorities report the fall of Tidermene after months of fighting by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), which sought to seize the northeastern village of a few thousand inhabitants. This essentially means that the militant Islamist group now controls all of the region’s main administrative subdivisions.
The German military has been in Mali since 2013, with a presence of up to 1,400 soldiers as part of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA), mostly based near Gao in the north. However, they have faced increasing difficulties, including the repeated suspension of reconnaissance patrols after being denied flyover rights by the military government. As a result, the decision to withdraw troops comes after growing tensions between the UN mission and Mali’s military rulers.
Similarly, last year, France withdrew its troops from Mali, ending a nine-year operation in the country. The French withdrawal also came after relations between Paris and Bamako deteriorated. With Germany’s withdrawal from Mali, it will be up to the West African country to take greater control over its own security and chart its path toward peace, progress, and stability.
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