Merkel To Visit German Troops In Volatile Northern Mali

                              

Chancellor Angela Merkel was on Thursday scheduled to visit German troops deployed to combat Islamist terrorism in Northern Mali, on the second day of her trip to West Africa.

Before leaving Ouagadougou, the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso, Merkel was meeting students and representatives of civil society.

The chancellor is expected to board an A400M military transport plane to fly to the town of Gao, where the German troops are based, shortly after 1200 GMT, before travelling on to Niamey, the capital of Niger.

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Germany has deployed about 850 soldiers as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

On Wednesday, the first day of her West Africa trip, Merkel met the leaders of the five member countries of the G5 Sahel, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in Burkina Faso.

Merkel kicked off the visit with a pledge that Germany would support the region in its fight against Islamist terrorism and its struggle for more stability.

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Merkel also had a one-on-one meeting with Burkinabe President Roch Marc Kabore to talk about the poverty-stricken nation’s worsening security situation.

Merkel said Germany would offer approximately 11 million dollars to support Burkina Faso in expanding the capacity of the police and gendarmerie to boost their equipment.

Berlin will also offer guidance from the German military worth between 7 and 10 million euros.

The EU and Germany have taken a particular interest in improving the situation in West Africa, since conflict and poverty there are main drivers in migration to Europe.

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