German defence minister visits Mali

Kramp-Karrenbauer visits German soldiers who serve as part of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in north-eastern Mali.

German defence minister visits Mali

Gao, Mali (dpa) - German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Tuesday visited German soldiers serving with the United Nations in Mali to learn about their mission in the West African country.

The soldiers are based in Camp Castor in the north-eastern city of Gao as part of the UN's MINUSMA peacekeeping mission, which is considered the most dangerous operation currently underway.

The north of Mali was temporarily controlled by Islamist and other rebel groups in 2012 following a military coup, until France intervened militarily. Extremists still regularly carry out attacks.

MINUSMA is among the UN's largest military missions, with 11,000 blue-helmet soldiers and more than 1,500 police officers and civilians stationed in Mali.

They are meant to support ceasefire agreements and trust-building measures. Germany is participating with around 950 soldiers.