Dutch peacekeepers in Gao, Mali

“If you keep Mali as such, it will turn into a black hole – a country where jihadists can do whatever they like. One way or another, these people will come to Europe and menace us.”

Colonel Joost de Wolf has been working in the Netherlands Marine Corps for 30 years. On Thursday 17 April he was sent to Mali as Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Colonel de Wolf explains the area around Gao where the Dutch troops will be stationed, and states that “a sense of security is returning to Mali”. Nevertheless, the Dutch troops sent to Mali will be sleeping in containers instead of in tents – as was previously planned. He explains why this is, and details the interests of the Netherlands and other troop-contributing countries in sending troops to Mali.

The Dutch contribution is quite significant: Bert Koenders is the Special Representative of the UN, Colonel the Wolf is the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations, the head of the ASIFU will be Dutch. The Netherlands sends 370 troops, 4 Apaches and later 3 Chinooks and another 70 troops.

On 10 April 2014, Colonel Joost de Wolf was interviewed by Bruno Braak at the Dutch Ministry of Defense on the Malian conflict, MINUSMA’s goals, and the Dutch contribution.

For more information on MINUSMA please refer to: www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minusma/.