At the latest news, the foreign forces present on the Malian theater report a crossover from Brussels and London. Indeed, at a time when the time is down for the Belgians, Britain, meanwhile, decides to deploy its soldiers in Mali.
Belgium will gradually reduce its number of troops deployed in Mali as part of the European mission, before handing over to Spain at the end of the month. According to a source close to the Ministry of Defense, Brussels has begun to reduce the number of its troops deployed in the European Training Mission of the Malian army (EUTM-Mali), before handing over the command of this mission to the Spain at the end of this month.
A good hundred soldiers (out of the 175 that count the Belgian contingent deployed in Mali in this context) returned to the country in two waves, the first (49 military), January 8 and the second (60 other soldiers), last Wednesday . The accuracy comes from a Belgian military spokesperson. And, according to the same source, thirty others must return to Belgium at the end of the month,
In the wake of this announcement of a reduction in the Belgian military force in Mali, London intends, as a first step, to deploy in the Sahel an elite unit of the special forces composed of a hundred men, supported by a squadron of three Chinook helicopters. The helicopters would provide logistical support to the French troops in the framework of Operation Barkhane that they lead to northern Mali against terrorist groups.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, after the announcement of this collaboration, at the Franco-British summit last Thursday at the Sandhurst Military Academy, described the decision as a new era of cross-Channel cooperation.
On the security front, this is an “operation to support the French forces involved for several years in a war against terrorist groups operating in vast areas transformed into a zone of lawlessness where there is trafficking, terror and organized crime “.
British troops will be positioned in the triple border zone of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, a zone transformed by jihadist factions into a veritable hub of terrorism and a stronghold of various extremist movements. London also plans to raise its aid to Africa. PM May has announced that her Government will release an additional € 56 million for West African countries affected by epidemics, natural disasters and armed conflicts.