British troops have completed their first operational patrol with the UN’s Mali peacekeeping mission.
The Ministry of Defence say that the 300-strong UK task group deployed to Mali in December to “help the UN keep the peace and protect civilians”.
The British contingent brings a highly specialised reconnaissance capability to the multinational mission, they added.
— Ministry of Defence ?? (@DefenceHQ) February 1, 2021
Today, some 200 personnel from the task group travelled 50km from their base in 60 vehicles during their first operational patrol. The troops met local people and spent several days “outside the wire” before returning to camp.
Back in December, we covered the movement of troops to the country.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Robinson, Commanding Officer Light Dragoons, was quoted as saying:
“The 300 strong Light Dragoon task group is joining over 14,000 peacekeepers from 56 Nations as part of this challenging UN mission in Mali to help protect the people from violence and support political dialogue. We bring years of experience on operations, first class equipment and exceptional people. We’ve trained hard for the last year to make that we are ready for this challenging mission. We’re proud to be the first British soldiers to join in this team effort to help combat instability in the Sahel.”
Many readers will be aware of the ongoing air-transport support British forces are providing to France. The deployment of Royal Air Force Chinooks began in 2018.
This new mission is separate to the ongoing RAF operation that has three Chinook helicopters conducting combat support operations as part of the French coalition that is conducting counter insurgency operation in Mali.