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German Defence Minister asks Malian gov't to disarm rebels


Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has urged the Malian government to ensure that rebels in the country lay down their weapons.

The Defence Minister who is on a three-day visit to the west African country said this when she visited the northern part of Mali.

Audience à Koulouba : Dr. Ursula Von Der LEYEN réaffirme le soutien de l’Allemagne au Mali https://t.co/p6CjgyZQYh pic.twitter.com/9Ji91v31RW

— Presidence Mali (@PresidenceMali) April 5, 2016

She also asked the Malian government to involve regional groups in its decision making.

About 200 German soldiers, part of the Minusma-EU mission, are stationed in northern Mali where they are training the country’s soldiers.

Northern Mali has been a constant target for Islamist insurgents.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) for instance, has since 2012 waged a war aimed at attaining independence for northern Mali.

The Islamist group Ansar Dine, also began fighting the government in later stages of the conflict, claiming control of vast swathes of territory.

The arrival of French troops in early 2013 pushed the rebels back.

German forces began arriving in Mali two months ago and their number is due to double by June.