Germany to supply Mali with two transport planes

"Germany will provide logistical support based on the situation on the ground," Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière told reporters on Wednesday, saying the planes would primarily be used to move African troops backing up a French military offensive into the capital Bamako.

He said Berlin would send the two aircraft to help the deployment by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) "soon", when technical details are ironed out.

De Maizière noted that France was already meeting its transport needs with the help of other allies including Britain.

"We believe that we are providing an appropriate, comparable and sensible – as well as a new – contribution in response to this conflict," he said.

He said Chancellor Angela Merkel would discuss the German commitment when she meets with Côte d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara, current head of Ecowas, later on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who joined De Maizière at the hastily called press conference, said the assistance "shows that we are living up to our responsibilities".

He also pledged €1-million in humanitarian aid from Berlin for Mali's beleaguered civilian population, estimating that some 4.2-million people were in need of assistance.

The aid will go mainly to refugees fleeing the violence, via German aid organisation Welthungerhilfe, he said.

Both ministers said that the Bundestag lower house of parliament would not need to vote on the deployment of the Transall planes, but De Maizière said the commitment had been discussed with senior lawmakers.

He held out the prospect of further assistance should conditions in Mali worsen.

3 000 soldiers back the French
"If the situation changes, in Bamako or due to other circumstances, we will quickly not only discuss matters but also seek a mandate if necessary," he said, citing a troop training mission as a possible example.

A first contingent of 190 Nigerian troops was due to arrive in Bamako on Wednesday as part of a regional force of over 3 000 soldiers, to back up the French air and ground offensive launched on January 11.

Mali has been effectively split in two since March 2012, when extremists took advantage of a short-lived coup in Bamako and an offensive launched by Tuareg separatists in the north to seize half of the country.

Western countries had voiced fears that Mali's north – a desert region larger than France – could become al-Qaeda's leading global safe haven and be used to launch attacks on targets in Europe.

France intervened in its former colony after the extremists last week pushed south toward Bamako, seizing the town of Konna in the government-held centre. – Sapa-AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sapa Afp
Guest Author
Advertising

READ IT IN FULL: Ramaphosa’s address on the extension of...

This is the full address given by President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 9

Meet the doctor leading Africa’s fight to contain the coronavirus...

Dr Matshidiso Moeti’s father helped to eliminate smallpox. Now she’s leading Africa’s efforts against the coronavirus

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world