The German government has announced that it will withdraw its 1,110 troops from the UN mission in Mali over the next year, citing difficulties with the ruling junta. The move comes as part of a strategic shift toward more humanitarian and development aid in the region.
Germany’s participation in MINUSMA (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) will be allowed to run out in a structured fashion over the next 12 months, while civil support for the region will be deepened. Defence Minister Boris Pistorius emphasised that Berlin’s goal was to “foster the growing responsibility of Africans for security and stability on their own continent”.
Germany had previously announced plans to withdraw its troops from the mission by May 2024, but this decision has now been brought forward due to operational problems with the ruling junta.
Since a military junta took control of Mali in August 2020, tensions between the UN mission and the country’s military rulers have grown, and there have been allegations of the arrival of Russian Wagner operatives in the country.
The Sahel state has been grappling with a security crisis since jihadist and separatist insurgencies broke out in the north in 2012. The conflict has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. While the junta claims to have routed jihadists over the past year, recent attacks have cast doubt on their claims.
Germany’s shift toward more humanitarian and development aid in the region may be an indication that it believes military solutions alone are insufficient to address the crisis.