Africa

UK To Deploy 250 Troops To Mali On Peacekeeping Operations

Initially deploying for three years, personnel will be based in Gao as a response to the increasing instability in the Sahel region.

Penny Mordaunt said "it is right that we support some of world’s most vulnerable people" (Picture: MOD).

The Defence Secretary is to announce that the Armed Forces will deploy to Mali in 2020 to support the UN peacekeeping operation.

A total of 250 personnel will deploy to Gao, Eastern Mali, as a response to the increasing instability in the Sahel region.

Initially deploying for three years as part of a 12,500 strong international force, the UK contribution will assist the UN mission as it seeks to deliver long-term and sustainable peace in Mali.

Estonian soldiers disembark off a RAF Chinook in Mali (Picture: MOD/Crown Copyright).
Three Chinooks are currently based in Mali in a non-combat role as part of Operation NEWCOMBE (Picture: MOD).

British troops will deliver a long-range reconnaissance capability, providing greater awareness of possible threats and contributing to the protection of civilians.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “In one of the world’s poorest and most fragile regions, it is right that we support some of world’s most vulnerable people and prioritise our humanitarian and security efforts in the Sahel.

“UK service personnel will work with our partners in the region to help promote peace by combating the threat of violent extremism and protecting human rights in Mali.”

The contribution will be complemented by UK staff officers in the UN mission headquarters and new training programmes with troops from other partnering nations who will be deploying to the UN operation.

Furthermore, the existing commitment of three UK Chinooks and accompanying personnel deployed in support of the French-led counter-terrorism operation in Mali have been extended by six months, as announced by the Prime Minister two weeks ago.  

The UK currently has around 600 personnel deployed on peacekeeping operations worldwide (Picture: MOD).

The UK currently has around 600 personnel deployed on peacekeeping operations and is the sixth-largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget.

The UK is the lead contributor to the UN mission in Cyprus and in 2020 the Armed Forces will conclude a four-year troop deployment to South Sudan.

The UN mission aims to prevent conflict spilling over to neighbouring states.