Mali’s military government has called on Denmark to “immediately” withdraw its roughly 100 recently arrived special forces troops deployed in the troubled Sahel country.
The junta, which came to power in a coup in August 2020, said in a statement on state TV and published on social media on Monday that “this deployment was undertaken without consent”.
The contingent of around 90 Danish soldiers arrived in Mali to join European special forces supporting the country’s anti-militant operations earlier this month, Denmark’s military said at the time.
The force, whose deployment was announced in April 2021, is stationed in Menaka in eastern Mali. Its mandate was due to run until early 2023.
Denmark has previously sent troops to participate in military interventions in Mali, some with the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force and others with the French-led Operation Barkhane.
The new contingent had been due to join Task Force Takuba –– a 900-troop French-led unit launched in March 2020.
Other contributors are the Netherlands, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Italy and Hungary.
European countries have raised concern over the deployment of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group on Malian soil and Mali’s delayed return to civilian rule after the coup.