The United Kingdom is planning to send a contingent of 250 soldiers to Mali for a peacekeeping mission. In a statement from the UK Ministry of Defence website, the troops were being deployed due to increased instability in the Sahel region of North Africa.
The troops who will be stationed in Gao, eastern Mali, are scheduled to supplement those from the UN peacekeeping mission.
They will join the international contingent of over 15,000 military and police personnel, for an initial period of three years.
The new UK contribution to the mission will form a long-range reconnaissance capability, providing greater awareness of possible threats and contributing to the protection of civilians.
“The UK will not put any caveats on the use of the troops by the Mission, and that they will have an effect on the ground, building resilience and rapport with communities, and combatting security threats,” UK’s Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt said.
The UK says the soldiers will support the UN’s mandate in Mali, which includes human security issues, such as operating within a zero-tolerance policy on sexual violence and supporting the rights of women and children.
This comes a fortnight after the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres visited Kenya for a counter-terrorism conference and condemned attacks by armed militants, and a deteriorating security situation in Mali and other countries in the Sahel.