UK armed forces will deploy 250 troops to Mali in 2020 on peacekeeping operations spearheaded by the United Nations.
The increased instability in the Sahel region of Mali has led to the UK government authorising a large deployment of troops to the eastern region; with 250 British troops to be deployed in Mali. 12,500 international troops from more than 30 countries will be deployed for three years in order to assist the United Nations’ mission to deliver long term and sustainable peace in the region; which has been in a state of extended civil unrest and internal conflict since an insurgent coup in 2012, with the UN’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide warning this year of a ‘growing ethnicisation’ of violence.
What will the British Army do in Mali?
After such a long time of unrest, the United Nations is now performing a protective role in the country. In addition to protecting civilians, the troops will provide greater awareness and assessment of the situation. The UK government has stated that the deployment is designed to stabilise the fragile state whilst also talking the root cause of conflict thus avoiding any further unrest from spilling over into neighbouring countries.
Penny Mordaunt, UK Defence Secretary at the time of the announcement, said: “In one of the world’s poorest and most fragile regions it is right that we support some of world’s most vulnerable people and prioritise our humanitarian and security efforts in the Sahel. UK service personnel will work with our partners in the region to help promote peace by combating the threat of violent extremism and protecting human rights in Mali.”
Following the UN’s mandate in Mali, the UK will be ‘operating with a zero-tolerance policy on sexual violence and supporting the rights of women and children’.
As the sixth largest contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping budget, the UK currently has around 600 military personnel deployed on peacekeeping operations around the world.