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German defence minister visits Mali


German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen called for calm on Sunday during her visit to Gao, Mali as investigations unfold on a German helicopter accident.

The two crew members died after the German Military helicopter assigned to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali crashed on Wednesday.

The flight boxes were recovered and will be taken to Germany for data recovery work to begin.

“The investigation has to be carried out systematically and it would be wrong to exert pressure on the experts and with respect to the pilots and the security of the personnel. We know from other incidents involving helicopters that especially with a close cooperation with the experts the right moment can be found to slowly and safely resume flight operation,” German Defence minister, Ursula Von Der Leyen said.

Von der Leyen refuted claims the crash was a result of the pilot’s inexperience. She described the Mali peacekeeping mission as one of the most important but also the most dangerous deployments of the United Nations.

Some 800 German soldiers are stationed in Mali.

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