The United Nations has welcomed the response of French and other partners to a plea from the Government of Mali for assistance fighting Islamist rebels occupying the north of the country, according to the office of the UN Secretary General.
Northern Mali has been occupied by radical Islamists after fighting broke out between Government forces and Tuareg rebels in January, in March the government underwent a military coup.
French President Francois Hollande ordered a intervention on Friday, and bombing began over the weekend. Speaking during a visit to the United Arab Emirates today he said the troops will leave only when Mali returns to a stable state, with a strong political system.
We have one goal. To ensure that when we leave, when we end our intervention, Mali is safe, has legitimate authorities, an electoral process and there are no more terrorists threatening its territory
France, leading the operation after a request for help through the United Nations from its former colony, will "gradually deploy" a total of 2,500 troops. So far, the operation consists of:
- 200 troops from Operation Epervier in Chad have been flown into Bamako, including some French Foreign Legionnaires. A company of 2nd marine infantry regiment based in Auvours, France was moved to Bamako on Sunday.
- Gazelle helicopters gunships from the 4th helicopter regiment of the special forces armed with HOT anti-tank missiles and 20 mm cannons.
- Four Mirage 2000D fighter jets, based in Chad, supported by two C-135 refueling tankers.
- Four Rafale fighter jets moved on Sunday from Saint-Dizier France to start bombing positions in Mali on Sunday
- Two C-17 aircraft to carry troops and military equipment, supported by a small RAF ground crew to service the planes.
- The UK is not providing any troops, but minister for Africa Mark Simmonsa said British personnel would be involved in training the Malian army.
- Britain's involvement is expected to last one week, according to armed forces minister Andrew Robathan.
- US officials say they have offered to send drones.
- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the US is providing communications, intelligence and transport help.
- German officials have ruled out sending any combat troops, but France's foreign minister said Germany will offer logistical, humanitarian and medical support.
- The EU will not take part in any direct combat role, but will provide troops for a training mission in the second half of February or March.
- Algerian announced yesterday it was closing the nearly 600 mile border with Mali.
- After months of expressing doubts about any kind of intervention it granted overflight rights to French fighter jets.
- Will send 300 troops.
- Will send 500 troops to Mali
- Sending 500 troops to control the northern border.
- Check points have been set up on roads to its northern border with Mali
- To send troops, but no specific number announced yet.
- Has committed to send 500 troops, but no date for departure has been announced so far.
- Sending 500 troops, to help with the combat. No departure date announced.
- To send 500 troops.