Another 400 German soldiers are engaged in the training of African military personnel in the framework of the EU training mission. However, their work gets more and more difficult due to serious shortcomings in their recently unveiled military equipment.
According to German Die Welt newspaper, which refers to the deputy head of the German contingent in Mali, half of the equipment does not work because of the heat and various technical problems. The Bundeswehr is supposed to use Wolf and Eagle jeeps, Fennek light armored vehicles and TPz Fuchs armored vehicles during their mission. However, almost half of them proved inoperable in the local conditions.
Four Eurocopter Tiger helicopters also stay grounded, as their use at temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius turned out to be "too risky for technical reasons." According to the weather forecast in the coming weeks, daytime temperatures will fluctuate to around 43-45 degrees; thus, helicopters won't be capable of flying at all.
"Criticism of the mission is mounting in Germany," Deutsche Welle wrote. And this is not only for technical reasons.
According to various reports, the UN mission is lacking coordination and funds are being allocated without appropriate control.
"I'm worried that the mistakes made in Afghanistan will be repeated again and again: a use of development funds without a clear purpose, a lack of coordination between the ministries involved and exaggerated expectations," the head of the German military union Bundeswehrverband, Andre Wüstner, said in an interview with Das Bild newspaper.
On January 11, the German government decided to expand the Bundeswehr mission to Mali, increasing the contingent of German soldiers up to 1,000.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the rearmament of the army requires 130 billion euros, with the country's military budget being increased from 34.3 billion euros in 2016 to 39.2 billion in 2020.