Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the hardest parliamentary debate of her career on Tuesday afternoon. The Tweede Kamer will debate with her the conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board's investigation into a mortar grenade exploding during training in Mali last year, killing two Dutch soldiers. With parliamentarians being almost unanamously critical, the question is not only whether Hennis will survive this debate as Defense Minister, but also whether she will still have a position in the new Dutch government.
Next week Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the Tweede Kamer in a debate about a faulty grenade that cost the lives of two Dutch soldiers, and seriously injured a third, in Mali last year.
The Ministry of Defense "falls seriously short" in ensuring the safety of Dutch soldiers deployed to the UN mission in Mali, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its investigation into an accident in which two Dutch soldiers were killed and another was injured when a mortar grenade exploded during a training exercise last year. Both the safety of the grenade and the medical care were not in order, ANP reports.
A mortar grenade that killed two Dutch soldiers during a training exercise in Mali last year was one of a thousand grenades that were unsafe - something the Ministry of Defense was aware of, Jean Debie, chairman of defense union VBM said to RTL Nieuws. If Defense followed its own safety procedures, 29-year-old Henry Hoving and 24-year-old Kevin Roggeveld would still be alive, Debie said. A third soldier sustained serious injuries.
Some of the new Dutch soldiers who recently joined the UN mission in Mali, can not go out on patrol due to a shortage in materials, AD reports after visiting the soldiers over Christmas. A lack of night vision goggles and so-called jammers, used to disrupt the working of roadside bombs, are a problem in particular, according to the newspaper.
There is also not enough new shard vests, which are lighter and more comfortable than the old ones.
A large number of parliamentarians are hesitating over extending the UN mission in Mali. They are concerned over a lack of air support to the Dutch troops there as there will be no access to fighting helicopters between March 1st and May 1st, the Volkskrant reports.
Dutchman Sjaak Rijke, who has been a captive of terrorist group Al-Qaida since November 2011, has been freed by commandos and other special forces of the French army in Mali this morning, the French Ministry of Defense announced this morning.
The threat level around the United Nations base in Gao, Mali has increased and the threat is "significant," according to the Minister of Defence, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. Many Dutch troops are stationed in the area supporting the multinational mission, Minusma, to restore security and stability in Mali.