Tag Archives | France

Why is the UK going to Mali?

In one of her last acts as British Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt announced 250 troops will be deployed to support the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, but for this to be effective it needs a more coherent strategy for engagement in the Sahel and Africa with clear objectives and resources. Amidst the flurry of a new British Prime Minister and Cabinet, it was easy to miss the Government’s announcement that they are deploying a long-range reconnaissance task group of 250 personnel to Mali in 2020. But it is important. Not only does it represent the most significant contribution of British forces to the frontline of a UN peacekeeping mission since Bosnia, it could also potentially be the most dangerous mission for British forces since Afghanistan – the French military has lost over 24 soldiers since it commenced Operation Barkhane in Mali in 2013. It also follows a continued commitment from the UK to tackle instability in the Sahel. As Mordaunt notes: “[t]he UK is committed to supporting the international community in combating instability in Mali, as well as strengthening our wider military engagement across the Sahel region.” In September 2018, the UK announced its support to Operation Barkhane with the much-lauded deployment of Royal Air Force Chinook […]

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Mali: ‘Terrorists’ killed in French airstrike near Niger border

Aircraft attached to the France-led Operation Barkhane in the Sahel struck “terrorists” in Mali near the border with Niger killing nine, the Ministry of the Armed Forces said on Friday. The operation was launched on Wednesday, July 17 after a Malian soldier was killed and two others wounded in an ambush on their convoy. The soldiers had been part of a “logistical escort mission” from the border post of Labbézanga to Gao and were ambushed between Fafa and Bentia, a Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) statement said, adding that a provisional assessment from sweeps on the ground was that five “terrorists” had been killed. The Barkhane operations center was notified of an attack on a convoy of 10 vehicles between Asongo and the border near the village of Fafa at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the French Ministry release said. It said that the convoy was split in two during the attack, and FAMa reinforcements were dispatched from Asongo to the north and Labbézanga to the south, and a drone was redirected to the area. In Wednesday release, the French military said a light aircraft was also involved in intelligence-gathering during the operation. The gunfight ended at 1 p.m. and the reinforcements reported the FAMa casualties, while motorcycles were seen leaving […]

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