Two German peacekeepers have died in a helicopter crash in northern Mali.
According to the German military, the Tiger helicopter crashed wednesday about 70 km north of Gao, burning out completely with no survivors. The crash was reported by a second helicopter following in the mission.
The Germans were the first killed in combat since 2013 in Afghanistan.
“We have now certainty that two soldiers have given their lives in the service of our country. Their mission was to contribute to our security, they were on a peace mission with the United Nations during the crash of their helicopter” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.
Germany increased its commitment to the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission this year with the deployment of eight attack and transport helicopters and 350 additional soldiers to Mali
Vice Admiral Joachim Ruehle, deputy inspector general of the armed forces, told reporters “the crew did not issue a distress call, the helicopter crashed and there were no survivors. The cause of the accident was not fully known, but
there is no indication of an external attack”.
Germany now has around 1,000 troops serving in Mali as part of MINUSMA and a separate European Union mission.