Mali stops 8 German soldiers from leaving amid troop lockdown

Mali stops 8 German soldiers from leaving amid troop lockdown

Malian authorities prevented the departure of eight German soldiers from the West African State, German defence ministry sources said on Friday.

The Bundeswehr members were unable to board a flight on Thursday, which had been previously booked with a civilian airline.

Malian authorities allegedly said there were difficulties with missing documents, according to the German ministry sources, who said the move was considered harassment.

Earlier this week, the military government of Mali prompted outrage by having close to 50 soldiers from neighbouring Ivory Coast, who had been involved in the UN Mali mission, detained.

Bamako suspended all transfers of international forces on Thursday.

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With immediate effect, there would be no exchange of personnel military or police within the framework of the UN mission.

This also affected routine rotations that had already been planned and approved.

Mali, with a population of some 20 million, had experienced three military coups since 2012.

Since the last one in May 2021, the country had been led by a military transitional government, which had been criticised for close relations with Russia.

The military junta had promised elections by the end of March 2024.

For years, Islamist terror groups had been causing unrest in the country.

The German army was  still involved in the MINUSMA mission in Mali, but the EU training mission EUTM was  to be largely stopped. (dpa/NAN)

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