Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:26 am
German Defence Minister, Ursula-von der’Leyen, said during a visit to Mali that his country would send some of its biggest drones to support a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.
The minister said on Tuesday during an official visit Gao in northern Mali, where more than 200 German troops are stationed as part of the UN peacekeeping mission known as Minusma.
Der’Leyen disclosed that two to three 8.5-metre-long Heron drones are due to arrive in Mali this year, mainly to carry out surveillance over roads linking northern cities.
“German forces began arriving in Mali two months ago and their number is due to double by June.
“They are performing mainly intelligence tasks, using drones and armoured reconnaissance vehicles,’’ he said.
In 2012, northern Mali fell into the hands of Islamist insurgents who were pushed back after an intervention by the country’s former colonial power France in early 2013. Reports say Islamist groups still stage attacks in the area.