British troops have begun arriving in Mali as part of the UK government’s commitment to help France’s war on the West African country, it has been announced.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that some 21 soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment arrived in the Malian capital of Bamako on Tuesday.
They will also be joined by further 19 troops drawn from 45 Commando Royal Marines and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.
Announcing the troops’ arrival in Mali, British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said, “Through this mission we will support the Malian government to counter the violent insurgency that has not only disrupted their country, but which also poses a clear threat to our national interests here in the UK.”
The UK has already contributed two heavy-lift C-17 transport planes and a Sentinel surveillance aircraft to France's aggressive operation.
Earlier in February, Hammond said the UK would send 40 personnel to purportedly train the Malian army.
The European Union Training Mission (EUTM) for the African country is expected to continue for about 15 months and involve around 500 troops from 22 EU member states.
Paris launched the war on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of the fighters in the African country.
The French-led war in Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people.