According to the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Mali is an important transport hub on the routes taken by the refugees that is why the sustainable peace in the African state is also crucial to prevent human trafficking in the region.
“Combat forces are urgently needed in Mali to determine stationing of the terrorist groups and militants in this vast country. At present, the Netherlands is carrying out this duty. The Bundeswehr units will be able to share this burden beginning with spring 2016 via its intelligence,” Leyen stated recently. The defense ministry wants to station a reconnaissance company in Gao along with “Luna” type drones. Military experts expect a German contingent of up to 700 men, who can be deployed to Mali starting in 2016.
To date, Germany is engaged in an EU training mission, EUCAP Mali, in the south of Mali with around 150 soldiers. In the larger UN MINUSMA mission, present in Mali since 2013, Berlin has only seven officers and two junior officers. Mali has witnessed consistent violent instability following a 2012 military coup, after which separatist tribes seized control over large areas in the northern part of the country. Islamist groups that emerged in Mali in the last decade have recently staged several terrorist attacks in the country.
Reports had been written about the objectives of the Africa policy guidelines of the German government which was adopted in May 2014.The 1st part of the document is entitled “Starting position: the growing relevance of Africa for Germany and Europe.” It reads: “Africa’s potential is the result of a demographic development with a future market of high economic growth, rich natural resources, potential for agricultural production and independent food security … African markets are developing dynamically beyond the raw materials economy and will be increasingly interesting for the German economy.”
The 2nd section, entitled “Our engagement in Africa,” demands the strengthening of “the political, security and development policy engagement of Germany in Africa.” The German government is pursuing “the aim of acting in a way that is early, fast, decisive and substantial and based on human rights and oriented to interests.”
This explicitly includes military interventions. The German government wants to “deploy the entire spectrum of its available means ” across different government agencies. This includes “political, security policy, development policy, regional policy, economic, scientific and cultural” means.