British troops have returned from a month-long operation conducting “deep reconnaissance and deterring terrorist groups” in Mali.

The British Army say here that the Long Range Recce Group (LRRG) deployed on Operation SEKA, from their base in Gao, with orders to recce the area of operations, to protect the local population and deter hostile activity.

“During the deployment, the group covered more than 1500km and visited more than 60 villages to conduct local engagement.

As part of the UK’s commitment to the UN operation in Mali (MINUSMA) troops from the Light Dragoons and 2 Royal Anglian deployed on Op SEKA, a security operation to provide enhanced and enduring security along the main supply route from GAO to Ansongo and the surrounding areas.

Op SEKA worked with partner contributing troops and civilians from other UN nations – including Mali – to enable a persistent presence which deterred violent activity and ensured freedom of movement for friendly forces, and protection for local communities. This has enabled the LRRG(M) – as part of the wider mission – to prevent, anticipate and rapidly react to threats against civilians and increase security in the region.”

PJHQ-NEWCOMBE-SEKA-LRRG-20210219-057.jpeg

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Robinson, Commanding Officer of the Light Dragoons, was quoted as saying:

“Op SEKA was our first opportunity to make a real contribution to the UN mission. We did this by focussing our efforts on understanding what the challenging security situation meant to the local population and how best we, our UN partner forces and the civilian mission together could help address them. After a month long patrol, covering 1500km in 40 degree heat, our hard work paid off with a significant reduction in violence against the locals and prevented the terrorist groups from moving and acting with impunity.”

You can read more here.

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Frank62
Frank62
26 days ago

Great to see our people combating the scourge of Islamic fanatics in the Sahel, saving lives & providing security to a terrorised population. My heart goes out to them operating in such extreme heat.

Last edited 26 days ago by Frank62
JohnG
26 days ago

Interesting. Any one have any idea of troop numbers?

Joe16
Joe16
25 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Apparently 300 troops from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglians went over, in addition to about 100 others already in country providing logistics. No mention on how large the patrol was, but I doubt the whole 300 drove into the desert.
Maybe Airbourne or one of the other veterans on here would have a better idea of it, but I guess maybe 25-50 troops? Any more and you need a pretty major logistics effort, but the photos above suggest several vehicles.

Dern
Dern
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

I’d guess a coy group. A month is a long time to be operating at platoon or troop strength on your own.

Joe16
Joe16
25 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Fair point, I’m not an expert in any way, shape, or form! Would that be 100+ then?

JohnG
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Thanks guys, that’s a pretty decent number if that’s the case. Great effort. Normally with things like this the old synic in me imagines a group of 8.

Reaper
Reaper
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

So why are you commenting?!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
25 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Because this is a free website for anyone with an interest and an opinion. You don’t need to be current or ex serving to have an opinion or knowledge. Do you dismiss a scholar of the Roman Empire? After all, they were not there 2000 years ago? Now I know you have issues, as you’ve directed your ire at me before months back and I politely defended my self then despite others here rightly pointing out I had no need to. So this time, despite your crap being directed at Joe, another “civvy nobody” like me with no right to… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
25 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Because I added concrete additional information that wasn’t in the article above about numbers deployed to the country, which is more positive contribution than you’ve managed so far. I made a guess about how many went on patrol but acknowledged that vets would know better than me, I’m not sure what’s wrong with going from Facts to conjecture if you’re clear where the line is drawn? As Daniele has kindly pointed out below, veterans don’t have a monopoly on talking about the military. It’d make for a pretty unhealthy society if military personnel and civilians never discussed anything about their… Read more »

DMJ
20 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

He was asking a question, which seems fair enough. Maybe answer him?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

“The British troops deployed under the UN peacekeeping mission have now carried out their first patrol, which involved 200 personnel and 60 vehicles.”

https://www.forces.net/news/british-troops-mali-ready-start-operations-directly-contributing-un

Steve
Steve
25 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

From the news the first patrol was in pretty signiciant numbers, but there doesnt’ appear to be much info what happened there after.

Dern
Dern
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Normally a company is anout 120ish, and a company group is a company + attachments. So maybe 180-240?

Graham
Graham
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

The smallest a company could be is 110. A company group would be more.

James
James
23 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Hi Joe, I recall a previous article a month or so ago having stated a patrol was around 60 vehicles of various types, More of a convoy than a patrol!

Steve
Steve
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

I wonder if lessons were learnt after the West Side boys mess. Operating long distances from reinforcements with no air support, must have put them at risk of a repeat.

You would hope they deployed with bigger numbers and better firepower but i can’t help suspecting not.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
25 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

“300 UK troops have arrived in Mali as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission, primarily drawn from the Light Dragoons alongside the Royal Anglian Regiment and supported by specialist trades from across the Armed Forces.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/300-british-troops-deploy-to-mali-on-un-peacekeeping-mission

Paul.P
Paul.P
24 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Thanks for the link, which says that there are 14,000 UN peacekeepers in Mali. The French had 4500 troops there in 2019.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-50558972

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Things can get pretty hairy in that part of the world!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCZK3Lckq_c

john melling
john melling
25 days ago

Well that has flown by!
Are they staying over in Mali or now coming back?

Last edited 25 days ago by john melling
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
25 days ago

Reminds me of the Long Range Desert Group of WW2 not only in name but, looking at the pictures above, in basic concept as well… Much as changed, but some things haven’t.

Cheers CR

Delabatte
Delabatte
25 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I hope they aren’t looking for africakorps basement to destroy because I’m not sure there are anyone in this place 🤣
More seriously, light unit like these are good assets on the ground to keep control of an area which is really vast and with a enemy really sneacky. But under UN rules I’m not sur what if it will be efficient.

David
David
25 days ago
Reply to  Delabatte

Will have been fantastic training / experience.

John Clark
John Clark
24 days ago
Reply to  David

It’s a great example of our future operational ethos, small numbers of well equipped troops, hopefully always covered by armed ISR assets.

I would guess we also deployed a SF element among the numbers…..

Jacko
Jacko
23 days ago

There is a little film on YouTube with them getting supplies from an airdrop.

john melling
john melling
23 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Also a different one on YouTube
BLUE HELMETS ON PATROL: A MONTH OF PRESENCE BETWEEN GAO AND TASSIGA TO REASSURE THE POPULATION