Mark Lancaster in South Sudan

British Troops Not Leaving Africa, Says Defence Minister

The Minister for Armed Forces has confirmed that UK troops will continue to stand at the forefront of the fight in Africa, following five...

Mark Lancaster in South Sudan

UK troops will continue to deploy to Africa to 'stand at the forefront of the fight in Africa, to bring security and prosperity', the Minister for the Armed Forces has said. 

The commitment to keep sending troops to the continent was made by Mark Lancaster, Minister for the Armed Forces, following a week-long visit to the continent that took in a wealth of projects in Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Mr Lancaster said he was "extremely proud to see Britains global influence."

"From tackling terrorist threats in Somalia to the role we have played alongside our UN partners in South Sudan, I have been extremely proud to see the way Britain’s global influence is being exerted to support our partners in East Africa."

At the beginning of his visit in Rwanda, Mr Lancaster met with President Paul Kagame to discuss how UK aid could continue to support continued growth and prosperity.

Mark Lancaster in Somalia

UK aid has already helped lift nearly two million people out of poverty since 2005.

During his visit, he paid respects at a genocide memorial event in Kigali, which marked the start of 100 days of mourning for the hundreds of thousands killed in the mass slaughter of 1994.

The Minister then travelled to Mogadishu to examine the work being done towards the African Union Mission in Somalia tackling the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and rebuilding stability in the country.

In the next leg of the trip, to Kenya, the Minister held talks with Cabinet Secretary for Defence Raychelle Omamo and senior Kenya Defence Force Officers.

He also visited the British Army Training Unit in Kenya, where he observed UK troops training and met the staff of Permanent Joint Headquarters’ East Africa Support Node, which provides support to our troops in Somalia and South Sudan.

Whilst in Malakal, South Sudan, he met members of the UK Task Force who are building accommodation and helicopter landing sites for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), to which the UK has pledged continued assistance until at least April 2020.

Mark Lancaster in Kenya

After meeting Mr Lancaster, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer said:

"I admire the way UK troops in the UN mission in South Sudan have integrated themselves and that they are now fully part of the UNMISS team..."

"Delivering excellent engineering and medical aid and supporting the UNMISS Headquarters too."

In Juba, Mr Lancaster met with the South Sudanese Minister of Defence Kuol Manyang Juuk, where they discussed how peace could be brought to South Sudan.

It was here where Mr Lancaster reaffirmed the UK commitment to bringing an end to the violence in the country.

The final leg of the visit, in Ethiopia, included a meeting with the Chief of The Defence Staff, General Samora Younis and a visit to The Ethiopian Peace Support Training Centre.

Each visit provided an opportunity to reinforce the UK’s continued support to the Ethiopian National Defence Forces with training for peacekeeping support operations.