Germany to deploy helicopters, more soldiers to UN mission in Mali

File picture shows a German-French attack helicopter Eurocopter PAH-2/UHU called "Tiger" released by the German Defence Ministry in Bonn, March 7, 2001. REUTERS/German Defence Ministry/Files

Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday approved the deployment of eight attack and transport helicopters and 350 additional soldiers to Mali as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.

A report from Berlin said that the helicopters would replace those of the Dutch army, while the additional troops would service and maintain the fleet.

It said after the deployment, 1,000 soldiers would be left in Mali taking part in the 15,000-strong UN mission that oversees a peace deal agreed in 2015 between the government and rebels.

“The four attack helicopters and a similar number of transport machines will stay in Mali until mid-2018.

“The additional deployments will have to be approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament,’’ it said.

The report added that the cabinet has also approved the extension of a mission in northern Iraq, where some 150 soldiers have been training Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State.

It said the mandate also required parliamentary approval.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that 100 peacekeepers have died in Mali, where France launched a military operation in 2013 to push back Islamists who a year earlier had hijacked an ethnic Tuareg uprising in the north of the country.



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