After attack: Guterres wants to expand operation Mali | free press

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After the attack on Bundeswehr soldiers in Mali more than three weeks ago, a debate arose in Germany about the continuation of the deployment there. The UN now wants to send reinforcements.

New York (AP) – After the attack with 12 injured Bundeswehr soldiers in Mali, UN Secretary-General António Guterres wants to expand the mission in the West African country.

In an internal letter, Guterres asked the UN Security Council for an additional 2,069 uniformed men — including 1,730 military personnel and more than 300 members of police units. The letter has been submitted to the German news agency. So far, just over 13,000 military personnel have been authorized by the Security Council for the UN Minusma mission.

Guterres opposed the most powerful UN body with the mission’s “increasingly complex challenges” and the mounting terrorist threat. “Given the recent complex attacks on the bases and the ongoing attacks on patrols and convoys,” an expansion of the deployment would also serve to protect the military. Guterres wrote that there are especially gaps in air and medical support. The units needed include three rapid response troops with a total of 750 people and up to ten additional helicopters with 260 emergency services.

More than three weeks ago, a suicide bomber attacked a patrol northeast of the city of Gao with a car bomb. 13 UN soldiers were wounded, twelve Germans and one Belgian. Three Germans suffered serious injuries. The Bundeswehr considers a confession letter from the Islamist terrorist group JNIM, which has ties to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, to be authentic.

At the moment about 900 German soldiers are involved in the UN mission Minusma, the upper limit set by the Bundestag is 1100. The mission is intended to support the peace process in Mali. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer met with UN chief Guterres in New York shortly after the attack and spoke with him about tightening up the mission objectives.