Germany has assumed command of the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM), taking over from Spain.
Some 600 EU military personnel from 24 countries have been training Malian troops since 2013, with 5 500 soldiers trained. The European contingent includes 160 from Germany, reports Deutsche Welle. On Tuesday command was handed over to Germany’s Brigadier General Franz Pfrengle, who will be the mission’s commander for the next ten months. The handover ceremony was attended by German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, spent two days in Mali.
Deutsche Welle reports that Germany’s Bundestag has extended the mandate of the Bundeswehr in Mali to 2016 and increased the number of German soldiers from 150 to 350.
Malian defence minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said at least 400 personnel have received training in Germany and Germany has also trained Mali’s national gendarmerie.
The European Union launched its military training mission in Mali in February 2013 following a request by Mali, with a first mandate of 15 months. Soldiers are trained at the Koulikoro training camp near Bamako. Training covers things such as infantry tactics, logistics, communications, clearing improvised explosive devices and mines and dismantling roadblocks.