British army joins French for Mali mission
The British Government has pledged to send British troops to Mali to support French and Malian troops in their attempt to wipe out Islamist insurgents and re-build political stability in Mali.
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond today announced that Britain would send around 350 military personnel to Mali and the neighbouring African countries that border Mali. Whilst the large majority of personnel sent over will be British soldiers supporting French and African troops, at least 40 military advisors will reportedly join the group to further assist in the re-organisation of military and political structures once the insurgents have been removed.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced further support in the form of a £5 million aid package to assist the training of the African Forces. With £3 million going to the African – led intervention force (AFISMA), the other £2 million will be used to support the attempt to build political stability within Mali.
Britain’s announcement comes a week after the European Union pledged approximately €50 million to Mali and authorized a EU led initiative to assist the African country.
On the 17th January the Council of the European Union announced: “The Council today established a Common Security and Defense Policy Mission to support the training and reorganization of the Malian Armed Forces”.
Since French troops entered Mali on 16th January the situation has continued to escalate. Both the European Union and Britain’s decision to send armed forces to support French efforts seemingly reflect statements heard last week regarding the need for a tougher stance towards insurgents and terrorists alike.