BRITISH Troops Deployed To Join UN Forces In Mali on a peacekeeping mission
British soldiers, totalling 300, from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment, are now on the ground in Mali, the West African country, currently, the most hostile place in the world, where, in August, Malian forces staged a bloodless coup against former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and now a military regime control the country, pending upcoming elections. The troops will be stationed with 16,000 other soldiers, from 56 different countries, wearing the blue berets, on behalf of the United Nations peacekeeping force.
Their main role, armed with three RAF Chinook helicopters, will be to collect, in a non-combat capacity, intelligence and long-range reconnaissance, which can assist their French counterparts, with security levels in Mali, during the last 12 months deteriorating terribly, seeing more than 2,500 civilians killed in the region of Sahel, with the influx of migrating populations, and since the mission began back in 2013, 220 soldiers have been killed or injured, during more than 130 attacks on the UN base.
In the Gao province of Mali, a force of 5,100 French soldiers are fighting against various jihadist groups, including Islamic State and al Qaeda affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), having eliminated, Abdelmalek Droukde, Al Qaeda’s North Africa chief, in June this year, along with Bah Ag Moussa, another high ranking leader, believed to be responsible for attacks on the UN troops.
Ben Wallace, the defence secretary said, “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. Our land forces are the best in the world, and we are one of a small handful of nations able to provide this specialist capability in a challenging environment which will help prevent the spread of conflict across the region”.
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