BERLIN/OUAGADOUGOU/BAMAKO | | maliburkina

BERLIN/OUAGADOUGOU/BAMAKO (Own report) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced the expansion of German military activities in the Sahel. During her trip to the region - which began Wednesday in Burkina Faso and following her visit to the troops in Gao, northern Mali, will end today in Niger - Merkel declared that the Bundeswehr will dispatch another advisory group to Burkina Faso, boosting its presence in the Sahel. The EU should intensify its support of the "G5 Sahel" intervention force. Berlin - which participates with 850 soldiers in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) - is also discussing the possibility of changing MINUSMA's mandate from northern to central Mali, because the previously calm security situation has dramatically deteriorated. Massacres of members of the Peul language community have been reported, some of which were carried out with the involvement of Malian soldiers. The massacres are now spreading to Burkina Faso and experts warn that the clashes could escalate into a full-fledged ethnic war. more…

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO | | maliburkinaniger

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO (Own report) - Nearly five years after the European military mission was launched in Mali, experts are describing the country's situation as a disaster and warning against Berlin and Paris' further militarization of the Sahel. Mali "has never" seen "such a level of violence" as "currently," says a former French diplomat. The regional conflicts cannot be solved militarily, explained the International Crisis Group, a pro-western think tank, using the example of a Burkinabe province at the border with Mali, where, even though it was possible to suppress jihadi unrest, for the time being, the conflict can again flare up at any time, because the reasons for the unrest have not been dealt with. Nevertheless, the German government supports the creation of an intervention force of the "G5 Sahel" group of countries, which launched its first military operation yesterday. Despite the disastrous consequences of militarization, the Bundeswehr is using the Mali mission as the focus of its PR campaign. more…

BAMAKO/OUAGADOUGOU/BERLIN | | burkinamali

BAMAKO/OUAGADOUGOU/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is pushing for a rapid resolution of Mali's national crisis - if necessary by military means. During his several-day tour in West Africa, the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel (FDP), landed in Bamako on Thursday. His talks focused on the country's current national crisis. Since March, northern Mali has been in the hands of insurgents. Following severe battles, a militant Islamist faction has won predominance. The West African ECOWAS alliance has summoned the Malian interim government, brought to power in a putsch, to present a plan for resolving the crisis by Friday, or they threaten to intervene militarily. Niebel supports both this ultimatum and a possible military action. His West Africa tour is a result of Berlin's efforts to expand its own economic and geostrategic influence in West Africa - at the expense of Paris, which, until now, has been uncontested. more…

Action Africa

LOMÉ/OUAGADOUGOU/BERLIN | | togoburkina

LOMÉ/OUAGADOUGOU/BERLIN (Own report) - The German Foreign Ministry has presented a new continental political program to aid in its struggle to obtain hegemony over Africa. Over the past 3 days the 20 million Euro program, "Action Africa," was introduced in three West African States. The program consists of proposals in the realm of education, culture and sports and will contribute to Germany's advantage over its rivals among the world powers on this continent rich in resources. One of the proposals is the establishment of new German schools abroad, to orient the nation's future elite toward Germany. In the framework of these projects, Berlin wants to send more soccer coaches to these poverty-stricken African nations - a step, political advisors see as an integrating mechanism for controlling the poverty-stricken African populations. Last Monday, during his tour in West Africa, the German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier attempted to abate tensions that, over the past 15 years, had soured relations to Germany's former colony Togo. Only 3 years ago demonstrators violently attacked the Goethe Institute in Lomé, in protest of German support of the Togolese opposition. In Togo and Burkina Faso, where the foreign minister stopped Tuesday, Germany stands in competition with its most important EU partner, France, and is therefore using its "Action Africa". more…