A total of 300 British troops have arrived in Mali as part of the country’s support to the United Nations peacekeeping mission to combat the threat posed by jihadists and other armed groups.
The troops are primarily drawn from the Light Dragoons, the Royal Anglian Regiment and supported by specialist trades from across the Armed Forces, according to a Government statement.
The troops are deployed to provide a specialised reconnaissance capability, conduct patrols to gather intelligence and engage with the local population to help the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) achieve its mandate.
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council this deployment is a demonstration of our firm commitment to peacekeeping and the importance we place on improving security in the Sahel by protecting local communities,” Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was quoted as saying that “this new deployment of 300 British troops to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali is part of our ongoing work in the Sahel region to build stability, improve the humanitarian response and help protect innocent civilians from violence”.
“British troops will reinforce our development and diplomatic work, to maximise our impact on the ground.”
In April 2013, the United Nations Security Council replaced the African-led International Support Mission in Mali with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
The British Government already has three Chinook helicopters and 100 personnel in a logistics role supporting the French-led operation Barkhane.
The operation evolved and expanded from the French military campaign in 2013, called ‘’Opération Serval’’, against Jihadi groups and militants in Northern Mali.