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Germany to increase military presence in Mali as part of UN mission

Malian soldiers wait on the tarmac for the arrival of the Chief of Staff before the handover ceremony of the Barkhane military base from the French to the Malian army   -  
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Germany is ready to increase its military contingent in Mali as part of the UN mission Minusma, a government spokeswoman announced Wednesday.

"The current number of 1,100 soldiers has been increased by 300" to an authorized ceiling of 1,400, in particular to compensate for the departure of French forces, Christiane Hoffmann said at a regular press briefing.

She was speaking at the end of a meeting of the Council of Ministers which endorsed the extension of the mandate until May 31, 2023.

The German deputies must still give their green light to this decision.

Until April, the German army was involved in two missions in Mali: 328 soldiers are participating in the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM), and about 1,100 in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (UNMISMA).

But the European Union stopped training the army and the national guard in April. The training mission will resume elsewhere in the Sahel, however, "with an emphasis on Niger," the spokeswoman said.

The future of UNMISMA itself also does not appear to be fully guaranteed after the withdrawal of French forces, Hoffmann acknowledged.

Several countries have undertaken to review their participation in the Minusma. The West has denounced the presence of mercenaries from the Russian group Wagner, who came to Mali at the call of the junta.

In Mali, where violence by jihadist groups and militias has killed thousands since 2012, the military took power in two coups in August 2020 and May 2021.

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