"Extraordinary achievements": Scholz: Bundeswehr deployment in Niger is a role model

New gas partnerships are the focus of Chancellor Scholz's trip to Africa, as is the fight against terrorism in the Sahel.

"Extraordinary achievements": Scholz: Bundeswehr deployment in Niger is a role model

New gas partnerships are the focus of Chancellor Scholz's trip to Africa, as is the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. During a visit to the troops in Niger, he praised the soldiers' deployment "under very difficult conditions" and saw the combat swimmer training as a model for other regions.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised the Bundeswehr mission in Niger, West Africa, as a success during his first visit to troops abroad. "The Bundeswehr is doing extraordinary things here and has also achieved extraordinary things here under very difficult conditions," said Scholz at the military base in Tillia. The point is that the Nigerien armed forces can ensure security in their country themselves. Scholz acknowledged the commitment as exemplary for other regions as well. It is a "very successful mandate", which is also dangerous.

The Chancellor emphasized that the mission in the country, which was limited to the end of the year, is to be extended beyond that. It is now a matter of identifying "a good follow-up project". This is done with local partners. When he now "sees the motivation of our soldiers," he has the feeling that they are looking forward to a good subsequent mandate. The previous mission had been "very successful and with great passion". At the military base in Tillia, among other things, a handful of German navy combat swimmers are training Nigerien special forces for the fight against Islamist terror in the region.

According to the Operations Command, around 200 German soldiers are involved in the "Gazelle" mission, which has been running since 2018 and is part of the EU training operation EUTM. Due to a contingent change, around 260 German soldiers are currently on site. On Friday, the Bundestag decided to end the Bundeswehr's participation in the EUTM mission in the neighboring country of Mali, which is run by a military government. The Bundeswehr is to continue to participate in the UN mission Minusma, and the upper limit for troop strength has even been raised to 1,400 soldiers by the Bundestag. The security situation in the entire Sahel region, which stretches south of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, is precarious. A number of armed groups are active there. Some have pledged allegiance to the terrorist groups Islamic State (IS) or al-Qaeda. The instability is one reason why thousands of people from the region make their way to Europe.

Niger, with its almost 25 million inhabitants, is considered an important partner for Germany in the fight against Islamist terror in the Sahel. The German government sees the poor country as an "anchor of stability" - especially now that the military are in power in the neighboring countries of Mali and Burkina Faso. The democratically elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger is pursuing a pro-Western course. Unlike many other African countries, it has clearly spoken out against cooperation with Russia.

Scholz has been on a trip to Africa since Sunday. It is the Chancellor's first visit to troops abroad. Today he flew in a Bundeswehr military aircraft from the capital Niamey to Tillia. After his visit to the troops, Scholz wanted to hold political talks in the capital, Niamey. Scholz made his first stop on Sunday in Senegal. There the Chancellor promised help to the countries on the continent affected by the global food crisis. He also offered Senegal cooperation in gas production. Scholz is expected in South Africa, one of the most important partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa, on Tuesday.


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