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Germany to expand UN's MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in northern Mali

Germany's foreign minister has said the German Bundeswehr is likely to expand its mission in the West African nation of Mali. The northern part of the country has been subjected to jihadi attacks since a 2012 coup.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that there would be a military proposal this week to participate in

the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission

MINUSMA, in which only nine German soldiers are currently participating.

Steinmeier said Germany had a "particular interest in Mali in terms of security policy," but failed to say exactly how many additional soldiers would be sent there.

Until now, a further 200 Bundeswehr troops are involved in the EU-led training mission in the comparatively safe south. The use of UN peacekeepers in northern Mali is much more dangerous, however. Fifty-six peacekeepers were killed there in the first six months of this year, alone.

The northern desert area was thrown into chaos during a coup in 2012 and seized by

Islamists and Tuareg rebels

. The area was largely freed again in January 2013 following the intervention of France.

German newspaper the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported on Thursday that the use of reconnaissance drones would also be considered. Germany does not have combat drones.

ksb/msh (AFP, dpa)

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