The United Kingdom (UK) is the 59th country to contribute troops and equipment to the United Nations (UN) mission in Mali – MINUSMA.
A 350-strong British battle group comprising infantry, light cavalry, explosives experts, remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) pilots and medical personnel touched down in the landlocked West African country late last year. The group will, according to the mission, provide the MINUSMA force with additional capacity to fulfil its civilian protection mandate. Following compliance with a COVID-19 quarantine period, the group is ready to commence on the ground operations in Sector East (Gao).
Deployment in the mission framework is not without risk which saw the British contingent undergo specialised human security preparation and training to help “recognise, respond, return and report” problems during patrols and succeed in Mali’s complex operating environment.
“We’ve trained hard to make sure we’re ready for this mission in support of the Malian population,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Robinson, British Commander adding: “as a MINUSMA contingent we are increasing patrols”.
“The patrols, in conjunction with Malian defence and security forces, will increase the security presence to protect locals. We will work with civilian pillars of the UN to support the return of State authorities in the Gao region,” he said.
Captain Aaron Rennie, Field Surgical Capability, looks forward to “working alongside and learning from our partners and allies, supporting stabilisation efforts and helping build a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for the region”.