Defence Forces should be brought home after Mali massacre – Luke Ming Flanagan MEP
Luke Ming Flanagan MEP has called on the government to bring home the 20 members of the Irish Defence Forces, currently deployed to the EU Training Mission in Mali, after the worst atrocity since the beginning of the conflict took place over the weekend.
On Saturday 23 the deadliest massacre in Mali’s recent history occurred, with more than 160 people reported dead, most of whom were women and children.
Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Office announced that a United Nations investigation team is being sent to Mali to investigate a massacre of civilians, which targeted the Muslim Fulani people, in the Central Malian village of Ogossou-Peulh.
Since 2013, 20 members of the Irish Defence Forces have been training members of the Malian military at the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM). The EUTM training camp where Irish troops are based is in Koulikoro, far away from the scene of the attack in Central Mali.
Today, Luke Ming Flanagan MEP called on the government to justify the continued involvement of Irish Defence Forces in EUTM Mali.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Flanagan raised the risk to Ireland’s reputation of further involvement in the Malian conflict.
“EUTM in Mali was originally meant to be a fifteen-month operation. It is six years later and we have been drawn further and further into this terrible conflict.
“It’s time to bring the 20 members of the Irish Defence Forces who have been training the Malian Army back home.”
In January of this year, Leo Varadkar travelled to Mali and told RTÉ that he was considering the deployment of further Irish soldiers to Mali as part of the UN MINUSMA mission, dubbed the ‘deadliest mission in the world’.
“These disturbing killings, carried out under the nose of the Malian Authorities, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Our involvement as a nation in the Malian conflict needs to be carefully looked at in light of this terrible event,” said Mr Flanagan.