UK military gears up for deployment in Mali

Media captionJonathan Beale had access to African Special Forces training in Senegal

Britain is significantly stepping up its military support in West Africa to help combat the world’s fastest growing Islamist-led insurgency.

Over the past month, British troops have been helping train local forces to fight extremism in the Sahel.

The region, a semi-arid stretch of land just south of the Sahara Desert, has been a frontline in the war against Islamist militancy for almost a decade.

Later this year, 250 British soldiers will join a UN mission in Mali.

It has been described as the most dangerous peacekeeping operation in the world.

In Senegal, a team of around 30 UK soldiers and Royal Marines have been training special forces from a number of West African nations in a US-led counter-terrorism exercise involving more than 1,600 troops.

Maj John House has been leading the British element of the training in Senegal with the focus on infantry skills and counter-terrorism operations.

He said it was in Britain’s interests to get more involved in the region.

“If we don’t act we may find the problems getting closer to our door,” he said. “The more they have a presence in the region, the more we can feel the effect back in the UK.”

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News

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