Diversion to Gran Canaria: Mali’s military junta denied the Bundeswehr overflight

Detour to Gran Canaria
Mali’s military junta denied Bundeswehr overflight

Diplomatic relations between the international community and the military junta in Mali have been strained for months. The fact that a German military aircraft is now not allowed to fly over the West African country should not contribute to better relations.

The authorities in West African Mali have denied a Bundeswehr aircraft overflight and landing. The A400M transport plane with 75 soldiers on board was diverted to Gran Canaria, said a spokesman for the operations command. The plane took off from the Wunstorf air base in Lower Saxony and headed for the Niamey air transport base in Niger. The Bundeswehr maintains a logistics hub there for operations in the Sahel region.

According to the spokesman, the overflight had previously been approved. The reasons for the denied approval “are currently being clarified,” he added. The Malian authorities recently restricted flight movements by the international military mission Minusma, which is stationed in the country and in which Germany is also involved. A spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office said on Monday that Mali had banned numerous Minusma flights, including drone flights, since last Thursday. Around a thousand Bundeswehr soldiers are deployed at Minusma in Mali.

Relations between the international community and the military rulers in Mali have been tense for months, aggravated after the military junta canceled the elections planned for February. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has therefore imposed sanctions on the Malian government, which is expressly supported by France, for example.

Mali then reacted with border closures and flight bans, apparently in other areas as well. The political situation in the Sahel state has been characterized by severe instability since 2012, which is often caused by jihadist-motivated violence. Germany is deployed in Mali with the Bundeswehr as part of EU and UN missions to help stabilize the country.

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