Mali says they did not agree to the arrival of Danish special forces
Denmark must “immediately withdraw” about 90 soldiers that they deployed to Mali last week “without [the government’s] consent and in violation of the Protocols “which allow European nations to intervene in the African country, the government in Bamako said on Monday.
About 91 Danes from Jaeger Corps special forces arrived in Mali on January 18, as part of Task Force Takuba, a French-led mission against terrorism in the West African country. According to the Danish Ministry of Defense, their job will be to strengthen the border with Niger and Burkina Faso, train Malian armed forces and provide medical care to peacekeeping forces.
While grateful to “all its partners involved in the fight against terrorism”, the Malian government stressed the “need to obtain the prior approval of the Malian authorities” before sending any troops to the country, said the communiqué signed by Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, spokesman for Ministry of Administration and Decentralization.
The Copenhagen government announced the deployment of the force last week, saying it had been planned for April 2021 as France sought to withdraw some of its troops from Mali.
Their goal was “to stabilize Mali and parts of the border triangle between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, and to ensure that civilians are protected from terrorist groups,” the Danish military said.
Jaegers also has experience in “training and educating” local soldiers, a job they have previously done in Afghanistan and Iraq. They were sent shortly after Sweden withdrew its contingent from Mali. The French-led operation also involves forces from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.
Task Force Takuba has been operating in Mali since March 2020, when Paris decided to end the previous Operation Barkhane. France has maintained a military presence in its former West African colony since 2013 to help the Bamako government deal with a Tuareg uprising in the northwest of the country and subsequent terrorist uprisings loyal to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
Relations between Bamako and Paris have cooled since the last military takeover in Mali in 2021, and France has since closed three of its military bases there, in Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu.