Germany has suspended its participation in MINUSMA, the United Nations mission in Mali, after a rotation flight carrying soldiers to and from the Sahel nation didn’t receive overflight and landing rights from the government.
“Once again, the Malian rulers have denied MINUSMA overflight rights,” said German defense minister Christine Lambrecht. She added that the actions of her Malian counterpart, Sadio Camara, speak “a different language” than his words and led to the suspension of operations and transport flights.
Meanwhile, an A400M aircraft used to transport personnel between Bamako and Gao was grounded in Bamako after it was struck by lightning. “A transport of passengers is no longer possible,” the German defense ministry said in its statement. “After an inspection by a team of technicians from Germany, this A400M will return to Germany immediately.”
It’s the latest step back for Germany in Mali, where the role of European troops deployed to stabilize the volatile Sahel region continues to contract due to leadership changes in the region, increasing resistance from its citizens, and disillusionment among the constituencies at home.
The role of Russian fighters welcomed by Mali further contributes to the changing landscape. France, which has had troops in the region for a decade in varying deployment arrangements, announced its drawdown in Mali earlier this year.
President Emmanuel Macron has since aligned with West African leaders seeking to prevent armed extremists from gaining ground in the Gulf of Guinea. His July trip to Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau focused on security threats with an eye on the encroaching Sahel.
Image: German Defense Ministry/MINUSMA