The European Union stops its military training in Mali, but stays in the Sahel

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

“Events force us to this decision. we can’t get [de la junte] the guarantees requested. But we are not abandoning the Sahel”explained Mr. Borrell, after a meeting with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Twenty-seven in Luxembourg. “We are going to continue training ourselves on the laws of war, because the military must know that war has laws and rules of the game”he added.

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Germany plans to withdraw its soldiers present in Mali as part of the EU training mission and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is scheduled to meet Mali’s junta chief during a trip to Mali this week. She wants “to have a clear idea of ​​the political and security situation” before deciding whether or not to keep the Bundeswehr, a ministry spokesman explained.

Two hits since August 2020

Some 300 German soldiers participate in the European Union training mission in Mali (EUTM) and 1,100 soldiers in Minusma, which has 14,000 soldiers and police.

“The question is how Minusma will be able to continue operating. if it is to stay (…) in the barracks it is not necessary to stay”to Judge M. 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 facing the EU is the presence of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, who came to Mali at the behest of the junta , and the collaboration of Malian army units trained by the EU in its activities.

The Europeans are calling for an independent investigation into the events that occurred in Moura, in the center of the country, between March 27 and 31. The army says it has “neutralized” 203 jihadists during a major operation. But there are testimonies of mass executions of civilians by Malian soldiers and “foreign fighters”.

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The Moura region is one of the main sources of violence in the Sahel. The United Nations announced that it had opened an investigation.

The EU has committed several hundred soldiers and experts to two training missions in Mali, EUTM for the armed forces and EUCAP Sahel-Mali for the police. The EUCAP mandate, approved in 2015, has been extended until January 31, 2023. The EUTM mandate, since 2013, is extended until May 18, 2024.

Le Monde and AFP

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