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The European Union ends its military training in Mali, but remains in the Sahel

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

“Events force us to make this decision. We didn’t make it [de la junte] the requested guarantees. But we are not leaving the Sahel”explained mr. Borrell, after meeting the Foreign Ministers of the Twenty-seven in Luxembourg. “We will continue training on the laws of war because the military needs to know that war has laws and rules of the game”he added.

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Germany plans to withdraw its soldiers 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 plans to meet the head of the Malian junta this week during a trip to Mali. She wants “to get a clear picture of the political and security situation” before deciding whether or not to maintain the Bundeswehr, a ministry spokesman explains.

Two coups since August 2020

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

“The question is how the Minusma can continue to do its job. If it has to stayin barracks it is not necessary to stay”judged mr. Borrel.

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The army 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 urging of the junta , and the cooperation units of the Malian army trained by the EU for their activities.

Europeans are calling for an independent inquiry into the events that took place in Moura, in the center of the country, between March 27 and 31. The military says it has “neutralized” 203 jihadists during a major operation. But there are testimonies of the mass execution 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 announced that they had opened an investigation

The EU has deployed hundreds of soldiers and experts on two training missions in Mali, EUTM for the armed forces and EUCAP Sahel-Mali for the police. The mandate of EUCAP, which was approved in 2015, has been extended until January 31, 2023. The mandate of EUTM runs from 2013 until May 18, 2024.

Le Monde and AFP

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