The European Union stops military training in Mali but remains in the Sahel

The European Union (EU) decided on Monday April 11th“just” its military education and training missions in Mali, but will remain in the Sahel and be deployed to neighboring countries, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell announced.

“Events are forcing us to make this decision. We didn’t get it [de la junte] the required guarantees. But we are not leaving the Sahel.”declared Mr Borrell after a meeting with the foreign ministers of the 27 in Luxembourg. “We will continue training on the laws of war because the military needs to know that there are laws and rules of the game in war.”he added.

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Germany plans to withdraw its soldiers stationed in Mali as part of the EU training mission and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (Minusma). Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has planned to meet the head of the Malian junta on a trip to Mali this week. she wants “to get a clear picture of the political and security situation” before the decision on the receipt of the Bundeswehr, said a spokesman for the ministry.

Two coups since August 2020

Around 300 German soldiers are taking part in the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) and 1,100 soldiers in Minusma with 14,000 soldiers and police officers.

“The question is how Minusma can continue to work. If you want it to stay (…) in barracks it is not necessary to stay”judged Mr. Borrell.

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The military seized power in Mali in two coups, in August 2020 and then in May 2021. The main problem the EU is facing is the presence of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who came to Mali at the junta’s call to and the collaboration of Malian Army units trained by the EU for their activities.

Europeans are calling for an independent investigation into the events that took place between March 27 and 31 in Moura, in the center of the country. That’s what the army says “neutralized” 203 jihadists during a large-scale operation. But there is evidence of mass executions of civilians by Malian soldiers and “foreign fighters”.

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The Moura region is one of the main centers of violence in the Sahel. The United Nations has announced that it has launched an investigation.

The EU has deployed several hundred soldiers and experts on two training missions in Mali, EUTM for the armed forces and EUCAP Sahel-Mali for the police. EUCAP’s mandate, approved in 2015, has been extended to 31 January 2023. EUTM’s mandate runs from 2013 to May 18, 2024.

Le Monde and AFP

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