Angela Merkel has so far stuck to her position that Germany must remain open to refugees. Photograph: Fredrik von Erichsen/AFP/Getty Images

German military investigators are heading to the scene of a military helicopter crash in Mali on Thursday, to search for the helicopter’s flight data recorder, a military officer said. Vice Adm. Joachim Ruehle, deputy inspector-general of the armed forces, told reporters that there is no indication any outside forces were involved in the crash in which two German peacekeepers were killed on a UN mission on Wednesday.

“The reason for the crash is still completely open. There is no evidence at this point of any outside factors,”
Ruehle said

The Tiger helicopter crashed around 1220 GMT, about 70 km north of Gao, burning out completely with no survivors.

The crash was reported by a second helicopter following in the mission.

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He said all routine flights by other Tiger helicopters would be suspended indefinitely.

Only flights deemed necessary for “life and limb” would be conducted, with each decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.

“We have now a certainty that two soldiers have given their lives in the service of our country,” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference in Berlin.

NAN reports that Germany increased its commitment to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali mission this year with the deployment of eight attack and transport helicopters.

Germany also deployed 350 additional soldiers to Mali where fighters with links to al Qaeda regularly target Malian soldiers and UN troops.

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