Denmark has announced it will send a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft to Mali and two EH-101 helicopters to the Sahel as it strengthens its military contributions to the Sahel region.
On 24 October, the Danish Parliament approved the Danish Government’s proposal to provide extra support to the region. The Danish Ministry of Defence said that to the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Denmark will send a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft as well as up to 65 persons for six months from mid-November 2019. The Danish aircraft will be transporting personnel and material across MINUSMA’s area of operation in Mali. Denmark will also deploy up to 10 persons to an intelligence unit within MINUSMA, whose task is to help strengthen the mission’s situational awareness and increase the security of MINUSMA forces.
With regard to the French-led Operation Barkhane, Denmark will deploy two EH-101 transport helicopters including up to 70 persons as well as 1-2 staff officers. The helicopter contribution will be transporting personnel and material in Operation Barkhane’s area of operations (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauretania, and Niger) and conduct reconnaissance tasks to gather information. They will be deployed from the end of 2019 for a twelve month period.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod on 24 October said: “It is important for Denmark that we contribute to the stability of Europe’s neighbouring regions. Terrorism and instability in the Sahel is a threat to our common security. Today, the Danish Parliament has expressed its broad support to my Government’s proposal to strengthen our military contribution to the Sahel. Our enhanced military engagement will supplement our current, strong stabilization and development efforts in the region.”
Minister of Defence Trine Bramsen said: “With these Danish military contributions, we are contributing to provide stability and security in the region and these efforts are necessary in order ensure that areas in the region do not come under the control of extremists, traffickers or other criminals. With the new contributions we underline our wish and our ability to contribute – also under difficult circumstances – in close cooperation with our European allies.”
Denmark has contributed to MINUSMA since 2014 and has twice provided a C-130J transport aircraft for the mission, most recently in 2017. In 2016, Danish special operation forces were part of a Dutch Task Group in the Gao region in Mali. The primary tasks consisted of patrol activities, monitoring tasks and area analysis. In 2015-2016 a Danish major general served as force commander for MINUSMA. In addition, Denmark has provided substantial financial support to MINUSMA. Currently, Denmark contributes with three staff officers to MINUSMA.