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Somalia: Germany ends military mission in Somalia

By Xinhua

BERLIN - The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) have officially concluded their participation in an eight-year-long European military mission in Somalia, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense confirmed on Tuesday.

All soldiers involved in the training of the Somali military by a coalition of European Union (EU) armies since March 2010 have now returned to Germany.

The German ministry of defense had announced the end of the mission earlier in February, citing political and institutional issues in the war-torn North-East African country which prevent staff from carrying out their assigned tasks.

The news comes shortly after several reports suggested a lack of adequate equipment and funding for German Armed Forces prevented them from fulfilling their international commitments. The findings heaped further pressure on Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) who have heard growing criticism for the slow progress of reforms which she promised at the start of her tenure in 2015.

Despite Germany's retreat from the Horn of Africa, the European training missions are still ongoing and intend to ensure that the official Somali government can one day ensure security and order within its own borders without foreign assistance. According to German Armed Forces, Berlin would continue supporting this objective politically.

Back in December 2016, the Council of EU member states extended the mandate of the Somali mission until Dec. 31, 2018. Around 160 European military personnel have been based permanently in Somalia since March 2010.

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