The death of two Dutch UN soldiers during a helicopter crash in Mali on Tuesday shocked The Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. A chopper upon lift off
“All of The Netherlands has been deeply touched by the loss of the two soldiers,” Rutte said in a statement. “Respect to our military. The Netherlands is behind them.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders also said he was deeply touched. Koenders had headed the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali before assuming the current post in October last year.
“I want to express my deepest condolences to the families who have received this terrible news,” Koenders said. “I have personally experienced dedication and professionalism with which they perform their duties and how important it is that our people do this work in Mali. I have the utmost respect for them.”
The Apache helicopter crashed 47 km north of the Dutch camp in the city of Gao during a shooting exercise.
The 30-year-old captain Rene Zeetsen died immediately and the 26-year-old first lieutenant Ernst Mollinger was severely injured and died later in a French military hospital in Gao.
The Dutch Ministry of Defense assumed that it was an accident but the case was still under investigation.
The Apache was part of the Dutch helicopter detachment in Mali. This unit collects, along with Dutch special forces and other personnel, information for the UN mission Minusma.
In total, about 450 Dutch soldiers contribute to the mission. The main force is stationed in Gao, a small part that operates from the Mali capital Bamako.? Enditem




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