Dutch defence minister resigns over Mali deaths


Dutch caretaker Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis is resigning after a report highlighted serious failures by her department during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali.

The Safety Board last week issued its findings about an incident on June 6, 2016, when a mortar killed two soldiers and gravely injured a third. It concluded the ministry had let safety and medical standards slip in favour of pursuing strategic goals.

Hennis announced her resignation during a parliamentary debate just days before the caretaker government is due to be replaced by a new coalition under Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Hennis said General Tom Middendorp, head of the armed forces of the Netherlands, would also resign in response to the Safety Board’s finding.

The Dutch, who initially provided Apache helicopter squadrons to the Mali peacekeeping mission, are winding down their contribution, with troop numbers expected to drop to roughly 300 this year.