Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UK Set to Deploy Troops to Mali

UK set to deploy troops to Mali, West African countries to help French war

Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:28PM GMT

Britain has expressed readiness to send over 300 military personnel to Mali and West Africa to boost support for the French-led war on the African country.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday that London has offered to deploy as many as 40 personnel for a European Union training mission in Mali.

Hammond further highlighted that the British government is ready to deploy up to 200 military personnel for a separate training force in neighboring English-speaking West African countries.

This comes as some 20 British personnel have already been sent to operate a Royal Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft that supports the French-led war in Mali. In addition, 70 British personnel are sent to Senegal to operate a Sentinel surveillance plane.

Also on Tuesday the leaders of African nations as well as representatives from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Japan attended an international donors’ conference in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to raise funds for the French war in Mali.

Some Western states and their allies pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Mali's ruling junta.

The conference, however, did not provide the clear figure of the required finance for the Malian army in its combat against the country’s fighters.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said London has offered to transport French vehicles and equipment from France via using a British roll-on roll-off ferry.

Britain has already sent two transport planes and a high-altitude surveillance aircraft to aid the French war in Mali, where some 3,000 French forces have so far been deployed.

France launched the war on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of the fighters in the African country.

Meanwhile, reports said that French-led forces have taken control of the access points to the Malian desert town of Timbuktu on Monday as they continued advancing further across the north of the country.

Thousands of people in Mali have been forced to flee their homes amid the French war.


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